The tragic earthquake in Haiti has brought an immense amount of suffering, with many people dead, injured, homeless and displaced. This situation has brought out the best in many, various governments and organizations around the world have contributed emergency aid and funding but there has also been those who have attempted to take advantage of the situation by exploiting Haitians. This is what a group of American Christian missionaries are accused of doing.
The missionaries are accused of engaging in Child Trafficking, of taking missing children who are separated from relatives and smuggling them out of the country.
A Haitian judge has questioned a group of US Baptist missionaries arrested while trying to leave earthquake-shattered Haiti with 33 children they claimed had been orphaned by the disaster.
The investigating magistrate question five of the ten missionaries for several hours and will question the remaining five on Wednesday, according to Marie-Laurence Lassegue, Haiti’s communications minister.
The missionaries were questioned behind closed doors and Lassegue said that they did not have a lawyer present at the meeting.
She also denied allegations, levelled by a lawyer for the group, that the Americans were being subject to “inhumane” conditions.
The judge will report to a district attorney who will decide if the 10 Americans are to be formally charged.
The missionaries were arrested on Friday and are accused of trying to take 33 children – whose ages ranged from two months to 12 years – into the neighbouring Dominican Republic without the correct documents.The group, who are from a Southern Baptist church in the US state of Idaho, say they were only trying to save abandoned children.But legal experts say taking children across the border without documents or government permission can be considered child trafficking.
The children were later taken to the SOS Children’s Village orphanage, where those who were old enough and willing to talk reportedly said they had surviving parents.
Patricia Vargas, regional director of the orphanage, said: “Up until now we have not encountered any who say they are an orphan”.
Vargas said most of the children are between three and six years old, and unable to provide phone numbers or any other details about their origins.She said reports that the orphanage had turned some of the children over to their parents were untrue.
“The Americans apparently enlisted a clergyman who went knocking on doors asking people if they wanted to give away their children,” Jeanne Bernard Pierre, the director of Haiti’s social welfare agency, told the Associated Press news agency.
“One child said to me: ‘When they came knocking on our door asking for children, my mom decided to give me away because we are six children and by giving me away she would have only five kids to care for,’” he said.
Max Bellerive, the Haitian prime minister, has suggested that Haiti was open to having the Americans tried in the US since most government buildings, including Haiti’s courts, were crippled by a January 12 earthquake that destroyed much of the capital Port-au-Prince.
Haiti was home to an estimated 380,000 orphans before the earthquake [AFP]
“It is clear now that they were trying to cross the border without papers. It is clear now that some of the children have live parents. And it is clear now that they knew what they were doing was wrong,” Bellerive told the AP.
The prime minister said some parents may have knowingly given their kids to the Americans in hopes they would reach the US – not an uncommon wish for poor families in a country that already had an estimated 380,000 orphans before the earthquake.
Haiti’s overwhelmed government has halted all adoptions unless they were in motion before the disaster amid fears that parentless or lost children are more vulnerable than ever to being seized and sold.
Bellerive’s personal authorisation is now required for the departure of any child.
Investigators have been trying to determine how the American church group got the children, and whether any of the traffickers that have plagued the impoverished country were involved.
Of course Robert Spencer and his cronies at their hate site didn’t see fit to run this story because it doesn’t fit in nicely into their argument of Christianity=light and goodness and Islam=Evil and darkness. If it were Muslims who were accused of this crime you can bet that Spencer would preside as judge, jury and executioner and say that the Muslims were just acting on Islam.
Grasping for straws and for some way to deflect attention away from these missionaries Robert Spencer attempted to cast Muslim relief workers as “stealth Jihadists.”
[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RecHusCVGW8&feature=player_embedded 350 300] Islamic Relief USA and the Islamic Circle of North America, both groups tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is dedicated in its own words to “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within,” are operating in Haiti — ostensibly working in relief efforts, but no doubt doing a good bit of dawah on the side. Creeping Sharia has the story (thanks to herr Oyal).