Improving Shelters for Child Victims of Trafficking in the Dominican Republic
This week IOM completed its Children's Shelter Improvement Plan in
coordination with the Dominican National Council for Children and
Adolescents (CONANI) as part of its programme to build the capacity
of the Dominican authorities to manage cases of child victims of
Four temporary shelters managed by CONANI have received
structural improvements and material necessities in order to
improve the conditions of vulnerable children in need of
protection, including Dominican children, unaccompanied minor
migrants and victims of trafficking, under the care of the
Dominican child protection authorities.
Structural improvements to the physical structures of the four
shelters included replacing broken doors and windows, painting
walls, building walls to increase privacy, and paving outdoor patio
Based on the needs of each facility, IOM has furnished the
shelters with games, books, and other educational materials, as
well as a range of appliances including fans, water coolers,
washing machines, lockers, and lawn mowers.
"IOM works closely with CONANI in the search for durable
solutions for child victims of trafficking and unaccompanied minor
migrants. Improvements to these shelters will help CONANI to
provide enhanced care to child victims of trafficking that end up
in the protection of the State. Other vulnerable children
found in these facilities will also benefit," explains Cy Winter,
IOM Chief of Mission in Santo Domingo.
These physical and material improvements have been carried out
in conjunction with a series of trainings for the staff of five of
CONANI's temporary shelters on how to identify signs that a child
has been a victim of human trafficking, as well as how to provide
specialized attention to child victims. The staff training
complements an awareness campaign carried out with more than 300
members of the child protection system via 11 workshops held in
Since the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, IOM has also formed
part of the inter-agency CONANI Technical Assistance Committee
seeking solutions for the unaccompanied minors under CONANI
protection as a result of being displaced by the earthquake.
There are currently 234 children in the care of CONANI's
temporary shelters; 45 are Haitian nationals.
In 2011 IOM has worked with the child protection authorities in
the Dominican Republic and CONANI and with Haiti's Institute for
Social Well-Being and Research (IBESR) to provide family tracing,
return and reintegration assistance to 23 Haitian child victims of
trafficking, including a large group of children trafficked for
forced begging rescued by the Dominican General Directorate of
Migration in a February 2011 raid.
As part of IOM's continued cooperation with the child protection
authorities in both countries, IOM organized a bi-national meeting
in May 2011 aimed at improving dialogue on short-term care and
long-term solutions for unaccompanied minor migrants and child
victims of trafficking. A follow up visit by staff of IBESR
to CONANI is planned for October.
IOM's work to improve the conditions of child migrants and child
victims of trafficking in the Dominican Republic is made possible
through support from the United States Department of State, Bureau
of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) and the Office to
Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (GTIP), and the United
Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Santo Domingo.
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