February 2010 Global issues Haiti


It happened, and the worst doubts have come to pass. The smugglers take the opportunity to earn money by smuggling children from Haiti.

On January 27th we posted the article entitled “Adopting Haitian children – does it help?”, explaining why the adoption of orphans may not be such a good idea.

The failed attempt by the New Life Children Refuge to take 33 Haitian children into the Dominican Republic has shed the light on the activities of groups that disregard the rules of international adoption. Haitian authorities are justifiably feared that chaos emerged due to the devastating earthquake on January 12th, which killed about 200.000 people, could provide an opportunity for traffickers to reach children.

The authorities in Haiti have investigated 10 American missionaries accused of illegally trying to bring children from the Caribbean country.
– We have information that some people are trying to steal children – said Minister of Communications, Marie-Laurence Laseg.
But baptist missionaries deny these accusations and claim that they have tried to help orphans and transfer them to an orphanage which was founded in the Dominican Republic. Even before the earthquake, Haiti was known as a nation of orphans, and now there are countless more children without parents.

In the past few weeks, children welfare organizations have been flooded with offers from families in the US and elsewhere willing to adopt children. Richard Danziger, head of counter trafficking at the International Office of Migration, says that in Haiti rules “cowboy adoption”.

– In these kinds of situations, there are all types of charities and church groups with, to be fair, good intentions. But that’s not the way to go about it – it doesn’t help an already messy situation. Children with no documentation get whisked away, and their families don’t know what has happened to them -said Mr. Danziger.
He added that this is not only against the law, but also taking advantage of people in a lousy situation.
Haitian Social Affairs Minister said: “This is abduction, not adoption.”
Roshan Khadivi from Unicef said that ” before the earthquake, the Haitian government estimated that is about 2.000 children a year were being trafficked out of Haiti”.

– These children generally find themselves in situations of domestic labour, sexual abuse or illegal adoption – said she.
In some cases, parents believe they are sending their children to legitimate orphanages, though the reality is that they are often put to work, living as slaves. Occasionally children are sold for money.

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