Some groups (UNICEF) are now stating that thousands of children in Haiti are being trafficked out of the country. UNICEF has even reported children taken from hospitals.
During such chaotic times with many international groups, planes, supplies moving in and out of the airport and borders, there is a greater opportunity for human trafficking. Security in and around Haiti is relaxed to move goods and aid in as fast as possible but that also allows trafficking to occur more easily.
There are a lot of homeless children and separated families that are at risk. Human trafficking usually increases after disasters, just like after the Tsunami in Asia in 2004. Organizations are registering people, children and others, who are separated, homeless, in hospitals, and are trying to reunite families.
And even though many well-intentioned people around the world would like to help and adopt Haiti children at this time, organizations (Save the Children and World Vision) are calling for a halt to adoptions arranged after the earthquake. It is too difficult to discern at this time who is truly interested in adoption and who are traffickers. Also, there are many orphanages in Haiti that are barely regulated and so some are working directly with human traffickers.
Human Rights lawyer, Beth Klein, states that some legitimate US adoptions, which were cleared before the earthquake, are currently blocked. Because of all the confusion, the Joint Council of International Child Services has been deployed to Haiti to create standards and develop a plan to hopefully move proper adoptions forward.
Before the earthquake, more than 300,000 children were already in forced labor in Haiti. Human trafficking was already an issue. Now, it will only get worse.
Haiti's population currently consists of poor youth-45% of the population is under 15 years of age. With new international aid and emerging reconstruction plans, developing a long-term economic plan is also an important ingredient. Stable incomes and economic options for communities reduce the risk of people falling into human trafficking. Like the country, human rights for the people need to be rebuilt to ensure trafficking and exploitation is not the normal way of life for Haiti in the future.
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