Ontario woman forced to walk topless through airport security in Dominican Republic - Stories Feed

Ontario woman forced to walk topless through airport security in Dominican Republic

A Burlington, Ont., woman says she was forced to walk naked from above the waist through an airport security line in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic earlier this month.

“I was completely humiliated and traumatized,” Natasha Marques told Global News in an exclusive interview.


Ontario woman forced to walk topless through airport security in Dominican Republic | Globalnews.ca


Marques, age 23, flew from Toronto to Punta Cana on March 1 for a one-week holiday with a friend.

The two women arrived at Punta Cana airport on March 8 and proceeded to the security screening line after dropping off their luggage.

Marques said a woman in the line in front of her was told to remove her sweater by a male security officer at the airport. She did, after raising objections.


Ontario woman forced to walk topless through airport security in Dominican Republic | Globalnews.ca

Marques said that the other female traveller was wearing a bikini bathing suit top underneath her sweater.

But after Marques placed her items on the conveyor belt, the same officer ordered her in Spanish to remove her athletic hoodie. She says he used his hands to illustrate that the top should come off.


Marques was not wearing anything underneath. She says she told the officer that, repeatedly.

Canadian woman humiliated after being forced to endure topless screening at Punta Cana airport - YouTube


“I said I don’t have anything underneath, I’m naked underneath,” Marques said.

She says she lifted her hoodie part way to reveal bare skin, to prove her point.

The officer, she says, continued to insist.


Marques says she resisted the officer’s demands for up to six minutes as her friend watched what was happening.

denuncia fue obligada a caminar topless aeropuerto de Punta Cana

“I felt I had no choice, I just had to remove my sweater,” Marques said.

“I honestly thought I was going to be detained or charged — that I was going to be stuck in Dominican Republic for a few days or weeks,” if she did not comply, Marques said.

She says she removed her hoodie, placed it on the conveyor belt, and walked through the metal detector with a hand on each breast.


After putting her top back on, she says the officer was nearby and watching her.

“He’s staring down at me at my breasts,” Marques said.

“I’m bawling my eyes out, I can’t comprehend what happened to me,” she told Global News.


Marques said after returning to Toronto, she alerted Sunwing about the incident.

Two hours after Global News contacted Sunwing for comment, the travel company emailed Marques an apology.

“We are certainly saddened to learn of the upset you experienced while at the airport,” a representative wrote.


“We have started an investigation into these issues,” Sunwing added, promising to update her when the company has more information.
Global News asked Punta Cana airport to explain what happened when Marques went through the line earlier this month.

“The Punta Cana airport does not have jurisdiction over the process in these cases,” wrote spokesperson Francina Herasme, re-directing inquiries to the National Drug Control Direction and Specialized Airport Security Corps. Comment from those agencies was not available as of this publication.

But Matthew Vaughan, director of security for the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said forcing someone to walk partially naked through a metal detector is unacceptable.


“That is 100 per cent totally against international best practices and standards,” Vaughan said from his office in Geneva, Switzerland.

Vaughan told Global News there would have to be a threat or other reason for someone to be asked to remove clothing, other than jackets, for instance.

If passengers were asked for a closer screening, Vaughan says the passenger would have to agree and be given privacy.

“There are meant to be secure, closed off from public view facilities available for further inspection,” Vaughan said.


Nora Dunn, a Toronto-based career traveller and YouTube content creator, said she was surprised to hear about what happened to Marques.

“I think that she was stuck between a rock and a hard place. I think she was within her rights to request a private screening room with a female officer. But when we travel, we are out of our element, naturally, we are overwhelmed, we may be dealing with language and culture barriers,” Dunn said.

“And the airport security process, no matter where you are in the world, is discombobulating to say the least. So this airport officer was obviously acting unethically and could have made her life a lot more difficult had she not complied.”