Church Group Accused Of Child Trafficking In Haiti
Their intentions seemed to be saving children from uncertain futures. An Idaho church says 10 of its members were falsely arrested for taking 33 children out of Haiti and that they are trying to “clear up the misunderstanding.”
Officials in Haiti have said they are concerned that children who lost their parents in the quake might be taken by to child traffickers for purposes of adoption. However, the church, Central Valley Baptist in Meridian, Idaho, said the team traveled to Haiti to rescue children from orphanages destroyed in the quake. The children, the statement said, were headed for an orphanage across the border in the Dominican Republic.
The 33 children on the bus have been temporarily placed in an orphanage in Santo, on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince that is run by SOS Children’s Villages, an organization based in Austria. On its website Sunday, SOS said at least one of the children, an 8-year-old girl, told workers, “I am not an orphan” and that she believed that her mother had arranged a short vacation for her.
Since the Jan. 12 earthquake, Haiti’s government has halted all adoptions unless they were in motion before the disaster. Officials fear that parentless or lost children are more vulnerable than ever to being kidnapped and sold. Prime Minister Max Bellerive’s personal authorization is now required for the departure of any child.
“The instinct to swoop in and rescue children may be a natural impulse, but it cannot be the solution for the tens of thousands of children left vulnerable by the Haiti earthquake,” Deb Barry, a protection expert at Save the Children, told The Associated Press on Sunday. Her group wants a moratorium on new adoptions. “The possibility of a child being scooped up and mistakenly labeled an orphan in the chaotic aftermath of the disaster is incredibly high.”Click here for reuse options!
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