By Brigitte Binder
In certain tourist areas in the Dominican Republic, child prostitution has become so rampant that hoteliers have recognised the need of taking action. Supported by the German Travel Association (DRV), ECPAT Germany and GTZ, a workshop in May 2006 at Puerto Plata had brought together entrepreneurs, law enforcement agencies, child rights organisations and politicians to discuss ways and means to protect children against sexual exploitation. A lot has happened since then, as Brigitte Binder reports. More and more tour operators and hoteliers are requesting the local ECPAT group “MAIS” to conduct training programmes for their staff. The tourism authority has initiated an information campaign, based on the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism. In March 2008, the Dominican Republic will be the officially partner country of the International Tourism Fair (ITB) 2008 in Berlin. It remains to be seen how the Dominican Republic and the travel industry will position themselves with regard to the sexual exploitation of children.