Americans arrested in Haiti for child trafficking

Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

HAITI (WFLX) - Ten Americans sit in a Haitian jail while the government investigates why they were attempting to leave the country with 33 children. Those children did not have the proper documentation to leave Haiti.

The American group, however, denies anything sinister was going on.

From a Haitian jail, members of the Idaho-based organization New Life Children's Refuge discuss their ordeal. The Haitian government charged them with child trafficking which the group strongly denies.

Laura Silsby, one of the detained, expresses concern. "Our tears tonight have not been for ourselves because we're fine. It's for these precious children who have lost everything."

In the wake of the January 12 earthquake, Haitian authorities have been especially wary to the threat of child trafficking for the purpose of illegal adoption.

Group members say they just wanted to get the children to temporary safety in the Dominican Republic and believed them to be orphans.

A Haitian government spokesperson says after they took the children into their custody, "Some of the children were crying and saying, 'I want to see my parents'".

Meanwhile, in Idaho, members of a church some of the detained attend hope for the best.

Clint Henry serves as the church pastor. He says, "God's in control, and he's got it figured out, and we're just trusting him right now."

While the group awaits to learn its fate, Haitian officials say, they'll conduct interviews to see if the children have any living relatives.

The children, who were taken off the bus, are now reported to be in the care of a private orphanage.

Haitian officials recently halted all new adoptions. Country leaders feared the orphans may be more susceptible to human trafficking while the nation is recovering.