Illegal trafficking of minors on the Haiti-Dominican Republic border

On the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic there has been an increase in underage trafficking. This has been released by different international media, which points to a recent case in which a 40-year-old man had a warrant for capture in Haiti for the recruitment of minors and forced induction into prostitution. The case occurred in Puerto Plata, a tourist destination located in the coastal area of the Dominican Republic. Victims between the age of 13 and 16 were held against their will, they said.

Many families in the midst of ignorance and poverty give their little ones to Dominican men, with the promise of offering them a dignified life in a foster home. In many cases these minors, initiate a nightmare by being forced to work as shoe shines, windshield cleaners or even involved in organ trafficking. They have also been involved in clandestine fights, a situation confirmed by the Lumos Foundation and the Jano Siksé network.

It appears that this latent social problem does not appear to be a priority for the parties involved, as stated by Sylvestre Fils, director of the Observatory on Migration and Transboundary Traffic, a non-governmental organization in the haitian border town of Ouanaminthe. “There is no immigration control or possibility or intention to combat child trafficking or any form of trafficking”

Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader, for his part, announced that in order to control this fact, the country will be ready to build a wall of more than 400 km along the entire border. This wall will have facial recognition cameras and radars, according to the representative’s statements.

It should be clarified that child trafficking between Haiti and the Dominican Republic is not a new fact. However, economic havoc caused by the pandemic and accentuation of social problems such as poverty and hunger in Haiti have increased the numbers of border traffic.

According to the InSight Crime Organization, Dominican human rights activist Jorge Galván recently told Listín Diario that underage trafficking between the two countries has intensified, especially in neighboring regions such as Dajabón in the Dominican Republic and Belladére in Haiti*

According to figures from Haiti’s Research and Social Welfare Institution, it is estimated that more than 50,000 children pass annually to the Dominican Republic in search of greater economic opportunities. Haiti represents the poorest country in the West, with more than 2.5 million people, accruing less than $1 a day.

Illegal trafficking of minors on the Haiti-Dominican Republic border is exacerbated by different causes such as the decrease in sentences to coyotes and adults responsible for these events, the lack of protection of victims and the corruption of responsible state entities in both countries.

 Since the Haiti earthquake in 2010, there has been a proliferation of orphanages that do not have the accreditations and licenses to operate. In this way, these centers have become a business for the use of minors in order to attract donations to Haiti, according to the report of the Lumos Foundation. An estimated one-third of Haiti’s day care centers receive around 60 million euros per year, according to the Lumos Foundation report.

Slavery and child labour add (sums up) to the social problems facing this country. One in fifteen girls work as a domestic servant. These minors come from low-income households and are sold or handed over by their parents to households with greater economic conditions. In many cases these minors are exposed to abuse and are not remunerated for the activities carried out, according to Unicef’s statements.


Diario El País.

Insight Crime Org

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