Wednesday 8 June 2011

Trafficking of Haitian Children

31 January 2011
Jesuit Refugee Service's report

Santo Domingo, 24 January 2011 – A large number of Haitian street children in the Dominican capital are not, as previously presumed, displaced victims of last year's earthquake, but rather victims of child trafficking.

According to the preliminary findings of a report by the Jesuit Refugee Service in the Dominican Republic, many children brought to the country are child slaves.

The despair and trauma created by the 12-January earthquake in Haiti has contributed to the already existing vulnerability of the population, thus benefiting human trafficking networks on both sides of the border, the report said.

Both Haitian and Dominican authorities were accused of complicity in many cases of smuggling and human trafficking. JRS called for action to end this practice and urged that those responsible be held accountable for these crimes. 

The report highlights that among the many causes of trafficking, is the tendency of Haitian parents living in the Dominican Republic to mistakenly trust traffickers to bring their children into the country. Moreover, the report encouraged human rights organisations to establish strategic alliances with the authorities in order to monitor trafficking-related activities.

The children, the report continues, are brought into the country to work as beggars, street vendors, prostitutes, drug dealers, shoeshine boys, domestic servants in Haitian and Dominican families, and as cheap labour on building sites and farms. According to another study carried out by JRS in Wanament in 2009, the owners of the discos and bars in question pay the traffickers a fixed amount for young Haitians.

More troubling is the fact that many of the minors reported being sexually abused on the journey from Haiti to the Dominican Republic. The preliminary findings state that trafficking has increased since the 12-January 2010 earthquake.

According to the report, since February 2010, the Juanistas Sisters in Wanament have assisted in 67 cases of trafficked persons: 55 children, eight women and four men. The Haitian police estimate that infants sell for approximately 400 euro for adoption and 40,000 euro for organs.

Preliminary findings suggest that this is the alarming situation for many young Haitians brought to tourist zones, such as Puerto Plata, and used as escorts in bars and discos.

Northern border areas

Based on information collected from NGOs in border areas in northern Haiti like Cap-Haitian and Wanament, it is presumed that high percentages of these street children are in fact victims of trafficking.

For more information about the same topic,
CLICK HERE to see the documentary HOW TO BUY A CHILD IN 10 HOURS

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