CRIME

Baptist Group Accused of Trafficking

Ten Americans were detained in Port-au-Prince after being accused of trying to illegally take children out of Haiti. The suspects—five men and five women—were taken into custody at Haiti’s main border crossing into the Dominican Republic with 33 children aged two months to 12 years and no papers proving the adoptions were legal. They are reportedly from a Baptist church in Idaho. Authorities had feared that traffickers would take advantage of the chaos in Haiti following the earthquake that ravaged the country. After the arrests, the children were taken to the orphanage of an Austrian-based charity, and were described as "very hungry, very thirsty, some dehydrated." And not orphans. "One (8-year-old) girl was crying, and saying, 'I am not an orphan. I still have my parents.' And she thought she was going on a summer camp or a boarding school or something like that," the orphanage spokesman said. Haiti desperately needs aid but often resents the meddling of foreigners, especially Christian charities that want to take away children’s Voodoo traditions and instill the groups’ often-Protestant religious beliefs. The suspects maintain that they were only trying to help children caught in a desperate situation, and that authorities told them paperwork wasn't necessary.