Among the main problems that affect children and adolescents in the Dominican Republic is poverty, more than 40% of the population lives below the poverty line. Inequalities are evident everywhere and the majority of the population falls into one of two extremes: families are either very rich or very poor. Many children suffer the consequences of living in poverty mainly in health, education, and the proliferation of child labor. Some are marginalized from society, such as the children of single mothers, immigrant children (mainly from Haiti), as well as children living in rural regions.
Health: Efforts have recently been made to improve both the quality of care centers and access to them. However, due to cost and insufficient coverage, children from poor families still have limited access to health centers and the services these facilities provide.
AIDS also prevails throughout the country, depending on the area, the prevalence is between 2-18%. Until 2018 there were 320,000 positive children and adolescents. Although much progress has been made in preventing HIV transmission, the persistence of the virus remains worrying. Many children discover that they are orphaned by HIV or infected, and their chances are extremely bleak.
Education: More than 40% of Dominican children are illiterate. Children living in rural areas, like immigrant children, do not have easy access to schools. 60% of children do not finish school, they have serious problems in reading, writing and mathematics. According to data from the Ministry of Education of the Dominican Republic (MINERD), for the 2014-15 school year, the following are out of school: 18.2% of 5-year-old boys and girls; 2.1% of boys and girls from 6 to 11 years of age; 2.5% of adolescents from 12 to 14 years old; and 9.9% of adolescents between 15 and 17 years old. For the group of 12 to 14 years old, the panorama is diversified and overage is multiplied by three.
Added to this, the quality of education is not as good as it should be: teachers need to be better trained, school programs are not suitable for the needs of students and many of the educational facilities need repair. Also alarming is the fact that in the Dominican Republic, only 60% of children finish school.
Mistreatment and abuse, commercial sexual exploitation, and sex tourism are critical issues that directly influence the comprehensive development of children in the country. A 2003 ILO study in the country indicated that the total number of people practicing prostitution was between 25,000 and 35,000, of which it is estimated that 60% entered as children. Other studies in the last 15 years have consistently reported high numbers of exploited children in this industry. However, there has not been a study in recent years that measures in real time, the prevalence of CSA in a situation of CSEC in the Dominican Republic.
Follow us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram