News / USA

Haitian Authorities Question US Missionaries Accused of Child Trafficking

A judge in Haiti has questioned a group of American Baptist missionaries accused of trying to take 33 Haitian children out of the earthquake-shattered country without proper authorization.

Officials say five of the 10 Americans pleaded their case Tuesday before a judge in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince.  The other five are to go before the judge Wednesday.

The five men and five women were taken into custody last Friday as they tried to cross into the neighboring Dominican Republic with the children.

The Americans have said they were taking the children to an orphanage in the Dominican Republic, but some of the youngsters say they have living parents.

An international aid group caring for the children says parents have come to reclaim them.  A spokesman for the group, SOS Children's Villages, tells the French news agency family reunions will not be allowed until it is clear why and how the children were taken. 

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, told reporters in Washington Tuesday that care must be taken to ensure adoptions do not separate youngsters from their families.

She said the United States will only grant visas to those foreign children who have been formally approved for adoption in their home countries.

The case has reignited fears that Haitian orphans or those misidentified as such will fall victim to child trafficking.

The detained Americans face possible charges of child trafficking, conspiracy and kidnapping of minors.  They are from a Idaho-based charity called the New Life Children's Refuge.  Laura Silsby, who leads the charity, denies wrongdoing and says her group was well-intentioned.

Separately, human rights experts with the United Nations warn that Haiti's children are at risk of increased abduction, slavery and trafficking due to increased insecurity following the January 12 earthquake.  The experts say unaccompanied children are particularly vulnerable.
 

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid