Another Black Eye

Ten Baptists in Haiti–attempted to take 33 children to the Dominican Republic, without proper authorization. This has resulted in their detention, as they are now being charged with child trafficking. Perhaps they were acting with the best of intentions, but shame on them for not playing by the rules.

Yes, there are families in Haiti, who are more than willing to part with their cihldren.

Yes, there are exigent circumstances, as there are many Haitian children starving and going without basic human care.

Yes, the adoption of these children, by Americans and other Westerners who are comparatively wealthy, would be a benefit to those children.

It is also true that these types of crises also bring out the child traffickers, who seek to take children for their own profit, selling them into sex slavery.

To that extent, the Haitian government should be leery of this deluge of attempts at adoption. An orderly process ought to be set up, whereby children can be adopted by families who are seeking to be charitable, and reasonable efforts can be taken to screen out those who would take children for the purposes of exploitation.

The Baptists, sadly, by breaking the law, have made the process harder for those who are seeking to go through legitimate channels.

The worst losers in this: the Haitian children.

14 thoughts on “Another Black Eye

  1. I can’t find the link, but there is the MSN article that I read a couple of weeks ago warning about people who want to help and aren’t thinking things through.

    People get zealous. Sometimes too zealous for anyone’s real good.

  2. Proof that once again, no good deed goes unpunished.

    To be accused of “breaking the law” in Haiti is laughable. It is easily proved that these people are not “trafficing”. It is also easily proved that thousands of other people are trafficing and no one cares. What they are guilty of is not paying the border guards a large enough bribe. They were being too honest. Now they will be held in on of the two jails that is still operating and will be taking up space there instead of the thousands of violent Haitians who are daily committing real crimes. They will wait to be tried in a court that as of yet does not exist. They should have just paid the bribe.

    Further, these kids were not going to adoption agencies, but to another nearby orphanage where food and medical treatment could be admninistered. As hard as it may seem to most people, there really isn’t a big market for orphaned Haitian children. Remember that many of these kids were in orphanages BEFORE the earthquake, having been left there by their parents, and no one cared except the bleeding heart foreign white people who care for them.

    It is arguable that even if these children were sold into slavery, their lives would be better than what is in store for them as wards of the Haitian government.

    This may be a case of the cure being worse than the disease.

  3. @Professor Hale
    I know that, and you know that. Still, there are facts that one cannot afford to ignore.

    There is the world that we wish it were, and the world that exists.

    Fact: there are a lot of needy children in Haiti.

    Fact: there are lots of people who are willing to help with those children.

    Fact: the government is so corrupt, they give Obama a good name.

    Fact: the people at that church, really were trying to help those children. Even if they were acting presumptuous in the process.

    Still, it was not their place to run the risk of making harder for other Christians, who are every bit as charitable as the folks in question are, by breaking the laws, even if the authorities are themselves a collective farce.

  4. Even in Haiti, a presidential proclamation is not a law. It is an administrative rule. The worst that should have happened at the border was a refusal to permit them to pass without the proper permits, not an arrest and threat of criminal prosecution. As far as I can tell, the Baptists did nothing wrong. This is just a shakedown. They aren’t making things harder on anyone. People who pay their bribes up front will still get through. Other people won’t.

  5. @Professor Hale
    My prediction: the charges against the offenders will be dropped, and they’ll get dismissed from the country with a slap on their butts.

    As crappy as the government is, and as asinine as the procedures may be, the bottom line is that the ultimate losers in this will be the Haitian children.

  6. …the ultimate losers in this will be the Haitian children.

    True. But then, that was always the case, even without an Earthquake.

    The absurd part is people in civilized countries applying our standards of conduct and expectations to the situation in Haiti. Things there are ripe for exploitation because they have no functioning government or civil structure of any kind. No community groups, no elected councils, no tribal chiefs, nothing.

  7. It stymies me to ponder all this. I was in Cambodia a few years back – a state also with a very weak governance unless it came to protecting the local kleptocrats. It’s heartbreaking to see great need in an environment where no effective governance (the extreme other end of “too much government”) bears the sword to protect the people. I can see how it would create ethical dilemnas, including as a clinician; i.e. in the delivery of medical care. If the legal system can be twisted against you for good-faith good samaritan acts (not saying this is the case in haiti now), and you have no parent around to give consent to a dicey operation (they will die without it, but maybe live if you do it), should one endanger onself? And that sort of question.

  8. @Professor Hale
    That’s all well and good, but the premise of international sovereignty goes both ways.

    As lousy and corrupt as the government may be, it is not our place to shove their government aside, all in the name of “helping” a neighbor country.

    Otherwise, we would be opening the door for Venezuela to offer their “help”.

    @noseintheair
    I would suggest that this is an example of the ineptitude of our State Department. This is a case where we could easily have negotiated with Haiti, to allow our charitable organizations sufficient latitude to act in the interests of those in need.

    We could easily have specified a list of those charitable agencies–reputed to adequately screen their workers–that would be given such latitude.

  9. I don’t recall suggesting shoving anyones “government” aside. Nor do I equate the actions of individual citizens, doing the best they can, with official government sanctioned policy.

    Th elast thing we want is some Powell doctrine being imposed on us “you broke it, you fix it” forcing us to drain our economy on a never-ending quest to help them.

  10. @Professor Hale
    But that’s the thing: telling the government, “You must not exercise any control over charitable activities in your country!” when in fact the President–however misguided–has a legitimate interest in controlling the process by which children are taken out of country, is in fact tantamount to “shoving their government aside”.

    It would probably have saved a lot of trouble, had the Obama Administration negotiated an agreement with the Haitian government, allowing latitude by workers of specified organizations.

    That would allow for necessary vetting of the workers in the zone, as well as providing latitude for workers to act decisively in the interests of those in need.

    That would have mitigated the risk of the fiasco we are seeing now, with the Idaho Baptists.

  11. UPDATE: They have now been charged with kidnapping. This is further evidence of the ineptitude–or utter lack of regard for Americans who are working in relief of the oppressed–of the Obama Administration.

    Yes, these workers–for lack of better words–fucked up.

    Still, they do not deserve the shelling they are receiving at the hands of the Haitian government.

    A strong Presidential Administration would have already negotiated their release, with full dismissal of charges, with condition that they leave and never re-enter the country, topped with some extra aid thrown in.

    Obama clearly has his head lodged completely up his narcissistic ass.

  12. Some of the children were given with the full knowledge and consent of their parents. Very much not kidnapping. Also charged with “criminal association”. I am guising this is what we would call conspiracy. THis way, everyone in the group is guilty if any one of them is found guilty. A typical ploy of prosecutors to scare someone into confessing.

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