IMPROVING SHELTERS FOR CHILD VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICK: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC SHOWCASE
Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Governance reforms in the Dominican Republic have included strengthening institutional capacity to deal with problems of children and adolescents. The country’s National Council for Children and Adolescents (CONANI) is the lead agency created for the task.
The CONANI had so far been operating on an expanded mandate so as to cover problems related to human traffick. In this regard, the International Organization for Migration or IOM has been co-partnering with the CONANI’s efforts, with commitments going up through the sheltering of child victims of human traffick.
Below is an update report about the subject that makes the country a showcase in sheltering affected children.
[Philippines, 11 October 2011]
Improving Shelters for Child Victims of Trafficking in the Dominican Republic
Posted on Friday, 16-09-2011
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 trafficking.
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 play-spaces.
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 late 2010.
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.
For more information, please contact:
IOM Santo Domingo
Tel: 809 688 8174
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