Dominican Republic

Population

10,478,756

Population 0‑14

27.5%

Internet Users

57.8%

Facebook Users

3,800,000

Mobile Subscribers

8,800,000
* Statistics provided by CIA.gov, Internet World Stats and GSMA Intellligence

Government in the Dominican Republic recognizes the importance of further development in the areas of teacher training and existing resources in schools, to better enable students to access new technologies. The ‘Ten-Year Educational Plan 2008 – 2018’ (Spanish) proposes continuing dedication to the development of open-access technology centers, within and outside schools, until each student is able to have their own equipment. The Ministry of Education aims to emphasize the use of ICT as a learning resource and a tool to access information and knowledge when reviewing the national curriculum. The objective is to integrate and utilize ICT in the curriculum, and enhance available resources to support learning and curriculum management.

2004 - The Dominican Government inaugurated in 2000 the project LINCOS in order to democratize access to information and contribute to reducing the digital divide in the country. In November 2004, the project was updated to CTC Centros Tecnologicos Comunitarios (Community Technology Centers). These centers provide a telecommunications infrastructure as well as training and online courses that give these communities the opportunity for development.

2005 - Educando is the country’s educational portal. The initiative, driven by the Ministry of Education, provides resources for teachers, parents and students, and serves as the first gateway to the Internet for obtaining relevant educational content and curriculum resources for the educational community in the country. The portal’s mission is to improve the quality of education through ICT.

2011 - The (CTC) Centros Tecnológicos Comunitarios of the Office of the First Lady and the Centro de Investigación para la Accion Femenina (CIPAF) annually host the Girls in ICT Day of The International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Through the development of various activities, this initiative seeks to encourage girls to get more involved in information technology and STEM careers.

2012 -The Ministry of Education of the Dominican Republic (MINERD) in collaboration with Microsoft Dominicana, the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology (MESCYT) , the Higher Institute of Teacher Education Salomé Ureña (ISFODOSU) and the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD), developed a project called Training Program for Trainers in ICT. Its aim was to increase the quality of teacher training in ICT, which will enhance their ability to raise digital literacy for their students.

2013 - Launched by the Caribbean Knowledge Learning Network Project (CKLN) in April, [email protected] is a research and education broadband fiber optic network. It links all 21 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries with research and education entities in Europe, North and Latin America, giving them affordable access to e-learning content and other knowledge resources. Its purpose is to bridge the region and achieve social cohesion of Caribbean people through digital inclusion.

2014 - The Ministry of Education of the Dominican Republic (MINERD) created the first youth camp with information and communications technology. TIC Camp 2014’s participants received a tablet with educational applications as its plan was to involve children and adolescents to the world of technology.

The Vice President of the Republic in partnership with Trust for the Americas and Microsoft Dominicana launched YouthSpark, an initiative to promote digital literacy. Its result is to have young people trained in ICT to promote better employment and economic opportunities in the region.

The Ministry of Education of the Dominican Republic (MINERD), through the portal Educando, trained 400 students in the responsible use of internet as part of the celebration of the international Safer Internet Day (SID). The program focused on middle-level students from private and public institutions and its purpose was to create awareness of promote good online behavior. In 2015, the number of students trained reached to 5,000. The same year, the Ministry also hosted the first Seminar on Innovative Education and and information and communication technologies (ICT) (SIETIC 2014). It sought to educate teachers on the ICT and how they are an instrument to transform education.

2015 - COMPU-MAESTRO 2.0 is one of the major projects of the educational revolution of the Ministry of Education of the Dominican Republic (MINERD). This initiative focuses only on teaching personnel. It provides ICT trained teachers with portable computers that come with a variety of teaching resources and materials for educational activities. By the end of 2015, 8,220 teachers were trained and beneficiated from the program, exceeding the goal, and it is estimated to be 10,000 more in 2016.

The Educando program launched Duarte on your Mobile, an interactive app that allows students to access all information related to Juan Pablo Duarte, one of the founding fathers of the Dominican Republic. Following its success, the National Tests App was debuted, which helps students to prepare for the national assessment by simulating questions and measuring the student’s comprehension level on the subject.

2016 - The Ministry of Education of the Dominican Republic (MINERD) as part of their plan for the development of technology, implemented a robotics program, accompanied by computer labs and training programs, for teachers from different schools. After its achievements in 2015, the initiative has been extended to 2016.

[email protected]

[email protected] is a regional organization established by the heads of government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), to connect local educational institutions to research and other institutions engaged in knowledge transfer worldwide.

CTC Centros Tecnologicos Comunitarios

Their main goal is to bridge the digital divide in the Dominican Republic. CTCs are free access points to digital information in remote and poverty-stricken areas of the republic through the use of ICTs. The service is available to all citizens over the age of three without any restrictions, offering different programs and activities for all.

Departamento de Investigación de Crímenes de Alta Tecnología (DICAT)

Departamento de Investigación de Crímenes de Alta Tecnología (DICAT) is the branch of law enforcement which investigates crimes involving technology. It also carries out research in order to respond to threats or attacks on critical pieces of the country’s infrastructure, produces analysis and develops intelligence. The Intelligence section of DICAT is the one responsible for developing intelligence on the online sexual exploitation of children and young people. DICAT has produced a presentation on online safety for children.

Educando

Educando, The Ministry of Education’s educational portal offers first-class resources for teachers, parents, administrators and students. The platform enables teachers to access the national curriculum, thereby furthering the implementation of the curriculum in all schools.

Educational Community of Central America and Dominican Republic (CEDUCAR)

A virtual meeting place for the teaching community, this educational portal links eight Latin American countries and their respective educational systems. It provides up-to-date information, online courses, virtual communities, digital resources, newsletters, digital libraries and other educational materials.

Instituto Interamericano del Niño, la Niña y Adolescente (INN)

A specialized body of the Organization of American States (OAS) on children and adolescents policy that provides guidance to the different states on how they must assume protection.

Internet Sano

A part of the National Commission for Information Society and Knowledge (CNSIC), the organization promotes standards, values and behaviors that contribute to integrity, creativity and innovation in navigating through cyberspace, particularly among children and adolescents. Their campaign for Internet safety (Internet Sano) aims to help children and teenagers to navigate the web safely and use it as a tool to build a culture of knowledge and creativity.

INTERPOL

INTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organization, with 190 member countries. Its mission is to enable police forces to collaborate globally to fight crime in the Internet age. Three areas of focus are crimes against children (with a focus on internet crimes and travelling sex offenders), cybercrime and human trafficking.

Latin American Network of Educational Portals (La Red Latinoamericana de Portales Educativos – RELPE)

Formed in 2004 by an agreement of the Ministries of Education from sixteen Latin American countries, a network of educational portals, allowing the collaboration and sharing of educational content between the member countries. It also provides for the construction of standards and methodologies of processes to position the network as a benchmark in the region and the world on collaborative management of educational content.

Latin American Network of ICT and Education (Red Iberoamericana de TIC y Educación – RIATE)

This organization promotes bilateral or multilateral cooperation for development through the exchange of information, initiatives and projects that promote the integration of ICT in education in 21 countries.

Ministry of Education of the Dominican Republic (MINERD)

Ministry of Education of the Dominican Republic (MINERD) is responsible for laying down national policies and guidelines for uniform standards for all levels of education in the Dominican Republic.

National Commission for Information Society and Knowledge (CNSIC)

National Commission for Information Society and Knowledge (CNSIC) is the national body responsible for the conception, development and evaluation of the country’s strategy towards an information society. They are responsible for the formulation of public policies resulting from this strategy and the definition of initiatives, programs and projects leading to the successful completion.

National Council for Childhood and Adolescents (CONANI)

National Council for Childhood and Adolescents (CONANI) is the administrative arm of the National System for Protection of the Rights of Children and Adolescents, a decentralized institution of the Dominican State has legal personality and own patrimony.

Committee on the Rights of the Child Reviews 12 countries’ Child Rights Records (2015)

OHCHR

This report reviews 12 States’ actions based on the obligations to the Convention of the Rights of the Child and its optional protocols

Protecting Children from Cybercrime (2015)

Simone dos Santos Lemos Fernandes, Legal Consultant, Global Forum on Law Justice and Development (GFLJD), Legal Vice Presidency, World Bank

This report studies different Latin American countries’ legislation on the prevention and combat of violence against children on the internet. It also identifies gaps and good practices on the protection of children from cybercrime.

New Study in the Dominican Republic: 1 in 10 Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation are Children (2015)

International Justice Mission

Study from 2015 by the International Justice Mission that reveals that 1 in 10 victims of commercial sexual exploitation in Dominican Republic are children.

Reducing violence against children, with special focus on sexual exploitation of children and child sex tourism. (2014)

The Netherlands, Defence for Children and ECPAT

This is a program by the Netherlands, Defence for Children and ECPAT, which objective is to reduce violence against children, with special attention to child sexual exploitation and child sex tourism.

Reducing violence agains children, with special focus on sexual exploitation of children and child sex tourism. (2014)

The Netherlands, Defence for Children and ECPAT

This is a program by the Netherlands, Defence for Children and ECPAT, which objective is to reduce violence against children, with special attention to child sexual exploitation and child sex tourism.

The commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Latin America (2014)

ECPAT International

This report studies the different forms of sexual exploitation of children inLatin America. Furthermore, it highlights the new emerging trends and how Latin america is addressing this phenomena

2014 Trafficking in Persons Report (2014)

Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

This is a report on the problem of trafficking people of the Dominican Republic in 2014. Moreover, it mentions the government progress on prosecution, protection and prevention on this matter.

2014 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor (2014)

Bureau of International Labor Affairs

Report by the United States Department of Labor on the 2014 Findings on the worst Forms of child labor.

Violence Against Women in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Comparative Analysis of Population-Based Data from 12 Countries (2013)

Sarah Bott, Alessandra Guedes, Mary Goodwin and Jennifer Adams Mendoza

This report analyses data from 13 Latin American countries. Its aim is to raise awareness of violences against women in the region.

Trafficking in Persons Report, 2013 - Dominican Republic (2013)

Embassy of the United States in Dominican Republic

This is a report on the problem of trafficking people of the Dominican Republic. Moreover, it mentions the government progress on responding to this issue.

Protection of Children Against Sexual Exploitation in Tourism (2013)

ECPAT

Report on the different aspects of sexual exploitation of children on Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Gambia and Dominican republic. It also highlights they actions and mechanisms of protection.

2012 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor (2012)

United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs

Report by the United States Department of Labor on the 2012 findings on the worst forms of child labor in Dominican Republic.

ICT IN EDUCATION IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN A regional analysis of ICT integration and e-readiness (2012)

UNESCO Institute for Statistics

UNESCO Institute for Statistics, based on survey responses from 38 countries reveals the extent to which factors such as education policy, teacher training, and infrastructure drive or hamper the integration of ICTs in schools.

2011 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor (2011)

United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs

Report by the United States Department of Labor on the 2011 findings on the worst forms of child labor in Dominican Republic.

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and the Internet (2011)

Inter American Children’s Instirute

This is a report to the Organization of American States on the situation of the member states in the issue of commercial sexual exploitation and the impact of internet in their lives.

Computers in Schools: Why governments Should do their Homework (2011)

Inter-American Development Bank

This chapter is a comparison of the Latin American governments include ICT in their educational programs.

Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents in Travel and Tourism in the Dominican Republic: An Anthropological Perspective (2009)

Alice Binazzi Daniel

Ethnography of Dominican Republic which focus was to study the social norms or cultural flows that could trigger pre-conditions for sexual exploitation and prostitution of children and adolescents.

Los desafíos de las TIC para el cambio educativo (2009)

Roberto Carneiro, Juan Carlos Toscano and Tamara Díaz

This is a collective Inter-American educational program which goals are projected until the year 2021. It analyses the challenges of the new era of education and the importance of incorporating ICT on it.

2009 Human Rights Report: Dominican Republic (2009)

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

Report by the United States Department of State on the respect of human rights of the Dominican Republic during 2009.

2003 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Dominican Republic (2003)

Bureau of International Labor Affairs

Report by the United States Department of Labor on the 2003 findings on the worst forms of child labor in Dominican Republic.

This section contains details of the country’s laws as they relate to sexual offenses, children and the use of the Internet in the commission of criminal activity. Where possible, sentence details have been given, including whether an increased custodial penalty is imposed where the victim is a child.

The age of consent in the Dominican Republic is eighteen, both for marriage and sexual intercourse. One of the primary pieces of legislation which relates to child protection is Law 136-03, otherwise known as the Code for the Protection System and Fundamental Rights of Children and Adolescents, abbreviated hereafter to CPSFRCA. Another key piece, the Code for the Protection of Children and Adolescents, Law 14-94, will be abbreviated to CPCA.

  • Article 396, CPSFRCA. Penalties for the Abuse of Children and Adolescents. Defines the offense of physical abuse as any damage to a child or adolescent which is not accidental and caused by a person in a position of superiority or authority, and psychological abuse as an adult systematically attacking the personal development of a child or adolescent. The Article also defines sexual abuse as sexual practices with a child over the age of five or adolescent performed by an adult for his personal sexual gratification, regardless of the psychosexual development of the victim; sexual abuse can occur even without physical contact. Anyone committing one of the offenses above will be liable to imprisonment for a term of between two to five years and a fine of three to ten minimum wages. Where the offender is in a position of authority over the victim, is responsible for their care or supervision, or where the victim sustains severed injuries as a result of the crime, the maximum penalty will apply. The Article also states that where foreign and domestic offenders commit one of the offense above jointly by bargaining or trafficking with children or adolescents, the punishment will be double the maximum penalty.
  • Article 397, CPSFRCA. Punishment for Those Responsible for Abuse. This Article states that where the abuse was committed by the father, mother or other relatives, guardians or persons responsible for the child or adolescent or people in a position of authority over the victim, the penalty will be imprisonment for between two to five years, and a fine of one to five minimum wages. In all cases, the penalty must be accompanied by psychotherapeutic treatment.
  • Article 403, CPSFRCA. Penalty for Abduction. Sets a penalty of imprisonment for between two to six years and a fine of three to ten minimum wages for anyone who removes a child or adolescent from their usual place of care.
  • Article 406, CPSFRCA. Penalty for Illegal Transfer of Children or Adolescents. This Article states that anyone who promotes, abets or provides help, assistance or aids in the removal of a child or adolescent abroad for profit or other illegal purposes will be liable to imprisonment for between four to six years and a fine of ten to 30 minimum wages.
  • Article 408, CPSFRCA. Penalty for Using Children or Adolescents or Distributing Images. States that anyone who uses or employs children or adolescents of either sex in a theatrical, television or film production showing scenes of pornography or sexual activity is guilty of an offense. The crime is punishable by imprisonment for a term of between one and five years, and a fine of three to ten minimum wages.
  • Article 409, CPSFRCA. Penalty for Trafficking Children or Adolescents. This Article sets a penalty of imprisonment for 20 to 30 years and a fine of 100 to 150 minimum wages for anyone who trafficks children or adolescents for any of the offenses established in this Code. Attempts to commit this offense are also punishable under this Article.
  • Article 410, CPSFRCA. Penalty for Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children or Adolescents. Defines the offense of child prostitution as using a child or adolescent in sexual activities for money, favors of any kind, or any other remuneration, and thereby sexually exploiting them. It is also an offense to help, facilitate or abet those who commit this crime. The penalty is imprisonment for three to ten years and a fine of ten to 30 minimum wages.
  • Article 411, CPSFRCA. Penalty for Photography, Film or Publishing. States that anyone who photographs, films or publishes pornographic sex scenes which involve children or adolescents is liable to imprisonment for two to four years, and a fine of three to ten minimum wages.
  • Article 330, Penal Code. Defines sexual assault as any sexual act committed with violence, coercion, threat, surprise or deception.
  • Article 331, Penal Code. Defines rape as an act of sexual penetration of whatever kind, committed against a person with violence, coercion, threat or surprise. The offense is punishable by imprisonment for ten to fifteen years, and a fine of 100,000 to 200,000 pesos. An aggravated penalty of imprisonment for ten to 20 years and a fine of 100,000 to 200,000 pesos applies if the victim was particularly vulnerable on account of her pregnancy, disability or physical or mental incapacity. The same applies if the victim is a child or adolescent, where the offender used a weapon, where the crime was committed jointly by more than one person, or where the offender abused a position of authority.
  • Article 332, Penal Code. This Article sets a penalty of imprisonment for ten to fifteen years and a fine of 100,000 to 200,000 pesos for anyone in a common law partnership who engages in non-consensual sexual activity in the following cases: through the use of force, violence, intimidation or threat; if the ability to resist has been neutralized without consent by any means; where because of illness or temporary or permanent mental incapacity the victim is unable to understand the nature of the act at the time it is committed; where a partner is compelled or induced by physical or psychological violence to take part or be involved in an unwanted sexual relationship with third parties.
  • Article 333, Penal Code. States that any sexual assault is punishable by imprisonment for five years and a fine of 50,000 pesos. An aggravated penalty of imprisonment for ten years and a fine of 100,000 pesos will apply in the following cases: where the victim was particularly vulnerable on account of her pregnancy, disability or physical or mental incapacity; where the offender used threat or a weapon, where the offender abused a position of authority; where the offense was committed jointly by two or more persons, or where the victim suffered injuries or damage.
  • Article 333-1, Penal Code. This Article sets a penalty of imprisonment for between six months to one year and a fine of 5,000 pesos for anyone who displays sexual acts or exposes his/her genitals in public.
  • Article 333-2, Penal Code. Defines the offense of sexual harassment as any order, threat, constraint or offer intended to obtain favors of a sexual nature by a person abusing his/her authority. The offense is punishable by one year’s imprisonment and a fine of 5,000 to 10,000 pesos.
  • Article 334, Penal Code. States that anyone who aids, assists or abets the prostitution of others or the recruitment of persons with a view to sexual exploitation is considered a pimp and liable to imprisonment for six months to three years and a fine of 50,000 to 500,000 pesos. Procuration also entails receiving benefits from the prostitution of others; living on the earnings of prostitution of others; consenting to the prostitution of partners and benefitting from it; recruiting, training or keeping, even with consent, a person for prostitution or debauchery; acting as an intermediary in any capacity between people who engage in prostitution or individuals who exploit or remunerate the prostitution of others; threatening or disturbing, by any means, the rehabilitation, care or prevention undertaken by qualified people of people who engage in prostitution or are at risk of prostitution. The aforementioned crimes are punishable as above. Any attempt to commit crimes set out in this article is punishable with the same penalty as a fait accompli.
  • Article 334-1, Penal Code. Sets an aggravated penalty of imprisonment for two to ten years and a fine of 100,000 to 1,000,000 pesos for pimping in the following circumstances: where the victim is a child or teenager; where the offense has been accompanied by threats, violence, or willful abuse of authority; where the offender was carrying a weapon, hidden or visible; where the offender is the husband, wife, partner or parent of the victim; where the offense was committed with regard to several people; where victims have been delivered or incited to engage in prostitution outside the country or where the offense was committed jointly by more than one person. Any attempt to commit crimes set out in this Article is punishable with the same penalty as a fait accompli.
  • Article 126, CPCA. States that all conduct of an adult who, by act or omission, negatively affects the physical, psychological or sexual health of children or teenagers is considered abuse against children and adolescents. In particular, a child or adolescent is considered being abused when someone sexually abuses the child or teenager or permits others to do so, or performs other lewd acts with the victim, with the exception of intercourse. It is also considered abuse when a child or teenager is exposed in pornographic films or photographs, or used in prostitution, for financial gain.
  • Article 21, Technology Crime Law. Defamation. States that defamation committed via electronic, computer, telematics, telecommunications or audiovisual equipment is punishable by imprisonment for three months to one year, and a fine of 500 minimum wages.
  • Article 22, Technology Crime Law. Public Insult. This Article sets a penalty of three months’ to one year’s imprisonment and a fine of 500 minimum wages for anyone who commits public insult via electronic, computer, telematics, telecommunications or audiovisual equipment.
  • Article 23, Technology Crime Law. Sexual Assault. States that anyone who sexually assaults a child, adolescent, disabled or mentally ill person through the use of an information system or any of its components, is guilty of an offense and liable to imprisonment for three to ten years and a fine of five to 100 minimum wages.
  • Article 24, Technology Crime Law. Child Pornography. This Article states that anyone who produces, distributes, sells or markets any pornographic images or depictions of a child or adolescent is liable to imprisonment for two to four years, and a fine of ten to 500 minimum wages. The Article also states that the acquisition of child pornography through an information system for oneself or another person and the intentional possession of such pornography in a computer system or any part thereof is an offense, which is punishable by imprisonment for a term from three months to one year and a fine of two to 200 minimum wages.

Regional efforts are operating on a community level, such as Internet Sano, to make an impact.

The government of the Dominican Republic has achieved some progress on child protection, according to UNICEF - Santo Domingo. Following certain alignments of their judicial system with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and to the Convention’s Facultative Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and the Use of Children in Pornography, the Dominican Republic has been actively combating the many problems affecting children.

The United States Embassy in the Dominican Republic presented a report of 2005 on the incidence and nature of child labor in Dominican Republic. This report also mentions the laws, enforcements, government policies and program for the protection of children.

As a country where there are efforts to combat child prostitution and child sexual tourism, global organizations such as UNICEF and Ecpat are active in the region, furthering the aim of protecting children from current dangers and hoping to safeguard against the potential of crimes that may occur as regular technology use and access grows.