The Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic is holding for the first time, together with UNICEF, UNIBE and ECPAT International, a working group to address issues of interest and establish actions and best practices to protect children and adolescents in the tourism sector.
The event is being held in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo with the presence of Angelita Duarte de Melillo, Minister of Tourism of Paraguay, the country that holds the general secretariat of the Regional Action Group of the Americas for the Prevention of Child Exploitation in Travel and Tourism (GARA).
The conclave will continue until tomorrow, when the Dominican Republic will sign its membership in GARA.
Deputy Ministers Patricia Mejía, of Destination Management and Carlos Peguero, of International Cooperation of MITUR, represented Minister David Collado.
Patricia Mejía, in charge of the welcoming remarks, thanked the representatives of the international organizations and the tourism sector for their presence. She stressed the importance of integrating all sectors of the tourism value chain to ensure the success of initiatives and strategies.
He indicated that Minister Collado’s will is to work from the protective environments so that this population segment has safer spaces.
“From MITUR we work hard to make destinations safer, not only for tourists, but for all Dominicans,” he said.
During the plenary session, the Paraguayan Minister of Tourism expressed that it is necessary to work in a committed, responsible and joint way to share success stories with other countries, supporting each other in the correct implementation to eradicate this problem.
“We must work to apply the code of conduct with tourism service providers, and generate a major awareness campaign so that the codes and documents are not dead letters and that the mechanisms and protocols activated allow us to avoid this type of crime in our destinations,” said Duarte Melillo.
Also speaking at the opening ceremony were Peter de Wannemaeker, coordinator of the Unit for the care of children and adolescents in situations of violence at the Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE), Aldo Insfran, director of Formalization of the tourism sector of the National Secretariat of Tourism of Paraguay (SENATUR) and technical secretary of GARA, and Fabio González, Regional Coordinator for the Americas of ECPAT International.
Also present were the general director of the Tourism Police (POLITUR), Minoru Matsunaga; Olga Diná, Attorney General of the Court of Appeals and National Director of Children and Adolescents; representatives of CONANI, Asonahores, among other personalities related to the protection of children and adolescents and the tourism sector.
It is a regional body composed of National Tourism Administrations and International Organizations (IIN – OAS / ECPAT) as observers.
It was created at the initiative of the Ministry of Tourism of Brazil in 2005, within the Commission for the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation of Children (Task Force), coordinated by the UNWTO Commission on Ethics and Social Responsibility.
It is made up of the countries of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and the Dominican Republic as a new active member.