A little background here is in order. The Dominican Republic is the child sex trafficking capital of the Western Hemisphere. Many of the children who are trafficked into sex slavery as prostitutes are kidnapped, or purchased from Haiti. When Rush Limbaugh loads up his Lear Jet with a few conservative male friends and heads down to the Dominican Republic for a weekend “getaway”…
It isn’t because of the beaches or Mojitos.
So to the Haitian Government, and to the Haitian people, the issue of child trafficking hits very close to home.
So, while the New Life Children’s Refuge may be exactly what they claim to be – there is a chance, a very real chance – they aren’t.
The Dominican consul general Wednesday rejected the claim from an American church leader that she thought her paperwork was in order when she attempted to take 33 Haitian children out of the country, saying he had told her it was not.
“I warned her, I said as soon as you get there without the proper documents, you are going to get into trouble, because they are going to accuse you, because you have the intent to pass the border without the proper papers and they are going to accuse you with kids trafficking,” Carlos Castillo said he told the group’s leader, Laura Silsby, during a meeting Friday.
Four hours later, Silsby and nine other Americans were turned back from the border. They were arrested and taken to a jail in Port-au-Prince.
“This woman knew what she was trying to do was not legal,” Castillo said.
A CNN reporter attempted to get reaction to Castillo’s comment from the jailed Americans, but they would not discuss the matter, responding to questions by singing “Amazing Grace” and praying.
Told earlier that many of the children had living parents, Silsby said, “I did not know that.”
She added, “In our hearts, our intention was to help children that had been orphaned or abandoned by their parents.”
But the interpreters the group had used said the conversations between Silsby and the parents in the Haitian town of Calebasse made clear to them that Silsby must have been aware of the children’s status.
SOS Children’s Villages, an Austrian charity, said that it has determined that at least two-thirds of the children are not orphans. Read the rest of this entry »