Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2014

Capstone Advisor

Laurence Thomas

Honors Reader

Cecilia Green & Gladys McCormick

Capstone Major

International Relations

Capstone College

Citizenship and Public Affairs

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

International and Area Studies | Latin American Studies | Other International and Area Studies


This project examines the forms of modern day slavery that are most prevalent in Haiti and the Dominican Republic: domestic servitude and forced prostitution for the purpose of sex tourism, respectively. This paper seeks to answer the following questions:

What is the role of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in combatting trafficking in persons (TIP) and modern day slavery in Hispaniola? How should NGOs work with national governments, especially in states with a weak rule of law? How have the presence and scope of NGOs evolved and/or expanded over time to address modern forms of slavery?

In this paper I argue that NGOs should play a complementary role to governments; they should strive to collaborate with the state and build up state capacities to the point where the need for their services is greatly reduced, if not entirely diminished. In order for Haiti and the Dominican Republic to develop in a sustainable manner, their respective states must have the capacity, authority, and legitimacy to deliver social services to their people. When NGOs are the main providers of these services they undermine the state and hinder sustainable development. Furthermore, I contend it is unlikely that NGOs will succeed in the long-term without local knowledge and understanding of the issues their missions seek to address. I argue that NGOs should collaborate with local knowledge and skills, operating with the understanding that citizens have the historical acumen and experience of what does and does not work to address problems in their countries.

It is critical that NGOs collaborate with states or they run the risk of being expelled from the country, especially in countries with a history of occupation or imperialism. NGOs must find the balance between offering their expertise, resources, and organizational capacity and implementing culturally imperialistic programs that are irrelevant to the people they aim to serve.

This paper concludes that NGOs are most effective when working in conjunction with local and national governments. This sort of collaboration facilitates sustainable development and stability by better ensuring that the needs of the people are met. Only when there is stability can the kind of economic growth needed to develop, flourish.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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