International Adoptions – Anti-Trafficking Efforts in Haiti

In connection with the recent story about ten Americans charged with trafficking in Haiti but defended their plan to bus 33 children into the Dominican Republic. We remind our readers that moving Children between countries, and exploring adoption options must be still regulated by International law. Any attempts to move children unofficially will be deemed suspicious and subject to greater scrutiny. According to the group, the children did not have any passports. Government approval is needed for any Haitian children to leave the country.

The Department of State is actively involved in addressing the potential for trafficking in persons, particularly children, in post-earthquake Haiti. The disaster in Haiti has displaced many people and separated numerous children from their families, posing great risk and higher vulnerability to human trafficking. The Department has acted swiftly to mobilize coordinated efforts both on the ground in Haiti and in Washington to prevent and combat trafficking in persons as part of the USG’s emergency response and long-term planning for recovery.

Currently, the Department of State and its partners are intensifying efforts on five different fronts, including: support for protection of vulnerable children (led by UNICEF with the government of Haiti, the Red Cross, and other international and non- governmental organizations), such as registration of unaccompanied and separated children, tracing, and family reunification; helping remobilize the Haitian Police’s Child Protection Brigades; preventing the trafficking of displaced Haitians; educating Haitians about the risks of giving away children in times of crisis; and, rebuilding the capacity of Haitian NGOs already working to protect child domestic servants, known in Haiti as restaveks. We will keep monitoring this situation and keep you posted.