Members of the Dominican Republic hotel sector signed a code of conduct that seeks to protect minors from sexual exploitation under the framework of tourism. This initiative was promoted by UNICEF, with the country’s representative for this code being the non-governmental organisation MAIS-ECPAT.
The Santo Domingo Hotel Association (AHSD) and twelve other establishments signed the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Girls, Boys and Teenagers against sexual exploitation under the framework of travel and tourism, offering the private sector an opportunity to collaborate in the prevention of child sexual exploitation.
This instrument works on a global and local level, promoting an ethical corporate policy and establishing specific actions to be implemented by means of addressing all types of sexual violence, abuse and exploitation of girls, boys and teenagers, according to a UNICEF press release.
By signing this Code, tourist companies commit to including a no-tolerance attitude to any kind of child exploitation in their social responsibility policy, and to training all members of staff on how to detect and prevent any type of behaviour associated with this crime.
These companies also commit to providing tourists with information in the form of leaflets, posters, videos and visible messages throughout their facilities; inserting clauses in contracts with suppliers, stipulating a mutual non-tolerance of the business of child sexual exploitation; and encouraging their partners to sign the Code of Conduct.
According to authority reports released by the NGO ‘Coalition for Children in the Dominican Republic’ in April – which was ‘Child Abuse Prevention Month’ – in 2018, there were 1290 cases of sexual abuse in the country; 2004 cases of the seduction of minors; and 308 cases of incest.
This situation is compounded by the 567-plus deaths of children and teenagers since 2014 in the Dominican Republic, where the chance of a minor experiencing violence is 20%. This figure derives from a study conducted by World Vision on Childhood Violence in Latin America.