Americans charged with kidnapping in Haiti

Friday, February 5, 2010 – Globe and Mail
With a report from the Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Ten American Baptists face charges of child abduction and criminal association after trying to take 33 Haitian children across the border into the Dominican Republic without the government’s permission.

The group members, accused of flouting Haiti’s child-protection laws when the country is at its most vulnerable, were led out of a closed-door courtroom session yesterday afternoon, through a crush of reporters and onlookers and into police vehicles waiting to escort them back to the makeshift jail cells where they have spent the past week.

The Haitian government has imposed a moratorium on international adoptions following the earthquake, fearing that in the ensuing chaos the risk of child-trafficking, already a mounting problem in Haiti, would increase.

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With no food and no hope, parents sent their kids away with U.S. Baptists – and they say they would do it again

Thursday, February 4, 2010 – Globe and Mail

CALEBASSE, HAITI — This is the town that sent its children away.

Its subsistence vegetable plots are all but destroyed; its buildings reduced to debris. If it was poor before the earthquake, it is desperately so now.

And the parents of Calebasse say they were just trying to do what was best for the kids they can no longer feed when they gave them to a group of American Baptists arrested for trying to spirit the 33 children across the border.

Many of them say they would try the same thing again.

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Haitian ‘orphan’ didn’t know where she was going or who was taking her

Tuesday, February 2, 2010 – Globe and Mail

SANTO, HAITI — For she knows not how long, Berline Chéry travelled toward the Dominican border in a blue-and-white bus with 32 other children. She didn’t know where they were going or who was taking them there. She knew only that the blans, who spoke French and fed her buttered bread and water, had told her mother they would help her and enroll her in school. Finally, in the dark, the children started to cry. That’s when the police opened the doors and found them.

Ten-year-old Berline and the others are now in the care of SOS Children’s Village, a refuge for unaccompanied youth in Santo, northwest of Port-au-Prince. More than anything else, the compound of 240 children resembles a rustic summer camp. But Berline and two of the boys from her convoy – twins Keler and Volny Toussaint – don’t like it here. The other kids are mean, she says.

“I need to find my maman – tomorrow. Early. She won’t come here.”

She looks away, old enough to be embarrassed by the tears streaming down her face.

“Can I go home now?”

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Baptist group accused of child-trafficking in Haiti

Monday, February 1, 2010 – Globe and Mail

PORT-AU-PRINCE — At least 10 of the 33 Haitian children a group of American Baptists tried to take across the border into the Dominican Republic have parents, says the group taking care of them while the Haitian government investigates an alleged case of child trafficking.

Ten Americans are in custody and set to appear in Port-au-Prince court this morning, accused by the Haitian government of trying to take the children out of the country without proper documentation.

Aid groups have warned against hasty adoptions or transfers of vulnerable children in the wake of the earthquake that devastated Haiti’s infrastructure.

The church organizing the transfer of the children says the group had only the best of intentions, that it wanted to put the children in a Dominican Republic orphanage and that it was sure all the children were parentless.

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