31 children saved from international child trafficking ring in Haiti

31 children rescued from Haitian child trafficking ring by National Haitian Police

  • The investigation on this specific syndicate began in December

  • The 31 children were found in one room at the Kaliko Bay Hotel in Côte-des-Arcadins

  • Police say they are still investigating to find who is behind the trafficking rings

Haiti has a long history of human trafficking. Since a large earthquake hit the area in 2010, things have only become worse for Haiti in general. Recently, Haitian police managed to rescue 31 girls from a child trafficking ring.

The continuing investigation began in December, and aims to get to the bottom of this child trafficking syndicate that was said to have international elements. This trafficking ring is said to involve “non-governmental organizations.” During the investigation, police say they discovered both Haitian and US cash, along with a computer containing child pornography, and cocaine.

Kaliko Bay Hotel

On Sunday, in room 155 at Kaliko Beach Club near the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, National Haitian Police found 31 trafficked minors. In room 158 were the adult suspects. In all, nine were arrested and foreigners and missionaries were said to among the arrests.

Police are investigating to find out how the suspects were able to get the 31 children past hotel admissions and staff. Police held the hotel owner, along with a person that drove a bus to transport the children, and several children.

Investigators believe that the plan was to take the children to the Dominican Republic border to leave the island.

There are three main forms of human trafficking in Haiti.

Restavek

A “restavek” is a child in Haiti who is sent to work for a host as a domestic servant. Normally, these children’s parents cannot afford to take care of them, so they are sent to strangers to receive their daily needs.

Living as a retavek places children at high risk of falling victim to labor trafficking and sexual exploitation, child sex tourism, and child sex trafficking. There is no real system for checking who the child is going to, but due to the severe level of poverty in the area, many are willing to put their children at risk.

Bateyes

In the Dominican Republic, the sugar plantations are known for forcing people into slavery conditions. People will come to the Dominican Republic looking for work, but many Haitians end up being stuck in working in the “bateyes.”

A batey is a company town made of a few barracks and sometimes houses. Bateyes can vary greatly in size,  but are usually located very close to cane fields to ensure people can work on these sugar plantations.

Those who manage to escape from a life of slavery at the Bateyes, typically will be found employed by the Dominican construction sector.

Sexual Exploitation between Haiti And The Dominican Republic

Children are also known to be moved from the Dominican Republic to Haiti, and from Haiti to the Dominican Republic for sexual exploitation. The Haitian children are exploited in popular tourist and resort industries along the Dominican coast.

The Dominican children, along with internally trafficked Haitian children, are exploited through brothels that typically cater to UN peacekeepers and foreign nationals.

Haiti has become a destination country for men, women, and children sold into slavery, and prostitution.

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About Meko Haze

Meko Haze is an independent journalist by day... and an independent journalist by night.

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