On February 25th, IJM and Dominican Airports XXI Century (Aerodom), the largest network of airports in the Dominican Republic, signed an inter-institutional agreement to bring an end to sex trafficking in the country.
This is the first collaborative agreement that IJM in the Dominican Republic has signed with the business sector. As IJM expands its partnerships, the aviation industry is an essential private sector partner to ensure greater impact and achieve large-scale protection for those living in vulnerable situations.
“Aviation connects the world, transporting billions of passengers each year. Sadly, this global network is also used by traffickers to transport people against their will,” said Aerodom in their social media pages after the event. Aerodom manages and operates six airports in the Dominican Republic, transporting an annual average of 5 million passengers. Through its airport network of 49 airlines that have taken over 76,000 flights, Aerodom connects the Dominican Republic with 58 cities in the world.
Jose Monteiro, IJM Country Director for the Dominican Republic, explained that "this agreement opens doors for critical collaboration with the private sector to continue fighting against the crime of commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents, and the trafficking of persons for sexual purposes.” Private sector companies can play a crucial role in preventing, responding, and supporting sustainable change.
Mónika Infante, Aerodom Director, added “I feel very excited about the future of this alliance and reiterate my full support to IJM to help create a safer and more fair country for Dominican girls. With IJM’s support, we will launch awareness campaigns in our terminals, training for our staff to recognize the signs of trafficking, and we will establish additional protocols to report these crimes to local authorities… “At Aerodom, we are convinced that human trafficking is an atrocious crime that we must do everything we can to fight.”
Human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation is a form of modern slavery. Since 2013, the IJM team in the Dominican Republic has worked alongside local authorities and partners to rescue children from exploitation and provide them with crucial psychosocial services to heal from the trauma they experience. This agreement represents a great achievement for IJM in the Dominican Republic because working with partners from the private sector ensures the sustainability of the changes that are taking place within the justice system, so that the victims of commercial sexual exploitation are protected and that thousands of girls and boys in the future do not experience violence.