10 Americans Have Been Charged With Child Abduction In Haiti
A group of 10 Americans have been arrested on suspicion of trying to illegally take 33 children out of Haiti. The group are reportedly from the New Life Children's Refuge charity who wanted to take the children to an orphanage located in the Dominican Republic. The devastating earthquake that took place on January 12 in Haiti has lead to serious concern for the possibility of child trafficking due to the many now orphaned children in the country.
The Americans are currently being held at the Port-au-Prince police station but they have not yet been charged. While the New Life Children's Refuge group claims to have had good intentions in taking the children to an orphanage across the border, they had no papers to authorize the removal of children from the country despite all intents and purposes. The Haitian Social Affairs Ministry remains firm that this was not a case of adoption, but a clear attempt at child abduction.
The group from Idaho-based charity New Life Children's Refuge told the BBC they wanted to take quake orphans to an orphanage in the Dominican Republic.
But Haitian police said the Americans had no papers authorising them to take children out of the country. They have not yet been charged
The children comprising the group of 33 ranged in age from 2 months up to 12 years. Evidence has emerged that mauy of the children were not in fact orphans, which has lead to increased suspicion of the American charity group. The police suspect that some parents may have handed over their children to what they believed was a group who would provide their children with treatment, education, and better living conditions.
The group of Americans maintains that they did not believe they were committing a crime with their actions. Laura Silsby, a spokesperson for the group, claimed that they simply wanted to take the children to a safer place where they could be housed and go to school. She suggests that their destination would have been a 45-room hotel in the Dominican Republic that was going to be converted into an orphanage. The charity group currently remains in custody.
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