Parents Gave Kids to Missionaries

When American Baptist missionaries arrived in the Haitian village Callebas, just north of Port-au-Prince, they promised parents there that they could give their children a better life. This contradicts the claims of the 10 Americans arrested on the border with the Dominican Republic, who when caught without proper papers for the 33 children said they were given away by distant relatives and orphanages. Haitian officials have called them child traffickers. The Callebas parents said that on January 28, two days before the arrest, a local orphanage worker helping the Baptists convened the 500 people of the village on a dirt soccer field and told them about the missionaries’ offer. The worker told them their children would be educated in the Dominican Republic so they could return and care for their families. Parents jumped at the offer because schools had collapsed and food was scarce. “It’s only because the bus was full that more children didn’t go,” said one Haitian mother who gave up her daughter.