News / Americas

10 Americans Missionaries in Haiti Charged with Kidnapping and Criminal Association

Laura Silsby, head of New Life Children's Refuge charity
Laura Silsby, head of New Life Children's Refuge charity
Elizabeth Lee

Haitian authorities have charged 10 American missionaries with child kidnapping and criminal association for allegedly trying to take 33 Haitian children out of the country illegally. Haiti's government has suggested the case could be transferred to the United States but, for the moment, the ten have been returned to a jail in the capital Port-au-Prince where they have been held since their arrest last Friday.  

These American missionaries never expected to find themselves in a Haitian jail.
They are members of a Christian charity called New Life Children's Refuge.  They say they are in Haiti to help orphans.

Laura Silsby heads the charity.

"We came here with the intention of being able to offer and share God's love and share hope with these children," said Laura Silsby.

Some of the group members belong to Central Valley Baptist Church in Idaho.  

The church's website says the missionaries were rescuing children from orphanages in Haiti and taking them to an orphanage in the Dominican Republic.

The missionaries were arrested as they tried to cross the border in a bus with 33 children.

Silsby denies her group did anything illegal.

"Our understanding was that, we were told by a number of people, including Dominican authorities, that we would be able to bring the children across," she said.

But Haitian officials say the Americans did not get the required permission from Haitian authorities.

Silsby says it was a misunderstanding and her group had only good intentions to help the children who range from two months to 12 years old.

"We came here to Haiti to help the children that have no one, children who have no mother or father, no hope of having someone to care for them," said Silsby.

But many of the children do have living parents according to SOS Children's Village, the aid group now caring for the children. SOS spokesman George Willeit.

"An elder girl, maybe eight or nine-years-old told us crying, 'I am not an orphan," said George Willeit. "I do have my parents. I thought I was going to boarding school or to a summer camp."

Some of the parents say they chose to give their children to the missionaries.

"They didn't kidnap my kid," said one of the mothers. "I gave them my daughter because she was going to have a better life."

Haiti's prime minister sees it differently.  

"For me, it's not Americans who've been arrested," said Jean-Max Bellerive. "It's kidnappers who have been arrested."

The case has ignited fears of children being victimized by child traffickers in a country with a weakened government.

Haiti has now suspended adoptions to try and protect its children who remain helpless in the wake of the earthquake.

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Multimedia Canada Capital Tense as Parliament Reopens

PM Harper says Wednesday's shooting, along with another incident this week that led to a soldier's death, are grim reminders that Canada is not immune to terrorism
More

Video US Political Parties Face Challenge Motivating Hispanics

As November 4 midterm elections loom, Latino activists, who are mostly Democrats, say they are disappointed and angry with president over immigration reform
More

Multimedia Canadian Prime Minister Speaks After Shots Fired in Parliament

Stephen Harper said Wednesday's attack, along with another incident this week that led to a soldier's death, are grim reminders that Canada is not immune to terrorism
More

Head of Mexican Cartel Appears in US Court

Juan Francisco Saenz-Tamez was arrested by US federal agents while shopping in Texas
More

Egypt Sets Appeal Date for Al Jazeera Journalists

Journalists were convicted in July on charges of aiding terrorist organization in verdict condemned internationally
More

Canadian Soldier Dies in Car Attack Linked to Radical Islam

Police shoot and kill driver - suspected Islamic radical - after he rammed into two soldiers Monday in parking lot in Quebec province
More