The Dominican Republic made significant progress in the fight against child labor during 2020, despite the difficulties posed by the covid-19 pandemic.
According to the most recent edition of the U.S. Department of Labor report, which evaluates efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor worldwide, the country increased the number of labor inspectors and conducted more than 40,000 inspections amid restrictions imposed to control the pandemic.
The report, published digitally Wednesday notes that the Dominican government established the 14-24 Opportunity program with the goal of reinserting high-risk and socially vulnerable adolescents and youth into technical or vocational education and training programs.
“In response to the educational challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the government acquired 800,000 tablets and laptops to facilitate instruction, while distributing material with academic activities and content to close to two million students,” the report explains.
The document highlights that in 2020 the Attorney General’s Office managed to obtain three convictions against individuals for criminal offenses in relation to the worst forms of child labor, unlike 2019 in which no convictions were reported, but warns that there are still minors in the Dominican Republic vulnerable to this scourge.
It also highlights some pending challenges for the country in its fight against child labor, including the need to allocate greater human and financial resources to the enforcement of labor legislation.
The report also highlights the positive impact on child labor prevention efforts of the passage of Law 1-21, which was intended to prohibit children under the age of 18 from entering into civil marriages.
In July, the U.S. State Department had positively assessed the work of the Government of the Dominican Republic during 2020 in the fight against human trafficking and smuggling, including minors vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation.