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09SANTODOMINGO1299 2009-11-19 18:43:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Santo Domingo
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1. SUMMARY: Although the issue of addressing trafficking in
persons is given support from the highest levels of the Government
of the Dominican Republic (GoDR), including the office of the First
Lady, there is limited progress to report for the interim period.
The GoDR has developed a National Action Plan to Combat
Trafficking, but we have not received any response to our requests
for information on efforts to prosecute cases. Please refer to
Post's email providing the 2009 Human Rights Report to DRL of
28Oct2009 (Trafficking in Persons section) for more details about
the TIP situation in the DR. END SUMMARY.

2. Background: The good news is that G/TIP is providing funding to
assist non-governmental organizations to work on TIP-related
issues, and the GoDR appears to have good relations with two of the
main grantees: The International Organization for Migration (IOM)
and FINJUS (the Foundation for Institutionalization and Justice).
A significant portion of this money will go to help the GoDR
implement parts of the National Action Plan to Combat Trafficking,
which has yet to receive GoDR funding. GoDR underfunding of
education and ineffectiveness in combating corruption, as well as
widespread poverty on the island (both in Haiti and the DR)
constitute the context in which trafficking takes place in, to and
from the DR.

3. With respect to the TIP situation generally, please refer to
the email containing Post's Human Rights Report (Trafficking in
Persons section) of 28OCT2009 (Ref B). With respect to the
specific items requested in section "I" of Ref A, Post submits the
following responses, with the understanding that additional
information will be provided as warranted:

a) Post has requested the latest data from the office of the
Assistant Attorney General in charge of prosecuting trafficking
cases, but has not yet received a substantive response.

b) Post is checking with labor-organizing NGOs about the extent to
which "potential" situations involving "labor trafficking" (a
person in a relatively low-paying job being forced to accept worse
labor conditions, or involuntary servitude) are being investigated.

c) Victim assistance and shelter activities continued as before,
with the prospect of some additional shelters thanks to G/TIP

d) As noted in the last TIP report, "victims' rights were generally
respected once individuals were recognized as victims, and the
victims were not typically jailed or penalized for unlawful acts
committed as a direct result of being trafficked." This continues
to be the case.

e) The National anti-TIP Action Plan contains various activities
designed to increase prevention and demand-reduction efforts, that
have yet to begin, but should start with the receipt of G/TIP

f & g) Again, the National anti-TIP Action Plan, once its
implementation begins in earnest, should result in "increased"
efforts with respect to (i) identifying possible victims and (ii)
training appropriate officials.

5. COMMENT: GoDR statements, laws and plans provide hope that
anti-trafficking efforts will generally increase or improve. G/TIP
funding will, as indicated, help to some extent. Nevertheless,
until/unless government funding to implement the National Action
Plan to Combat Trafficking is forthcoming, and until the Attorney
General's Office commences serious trafficking investigations and
prosecutions, progress on combating trafficking in persons in the
Dominican Republic will remain a hope, not a reality. END COMMENT.