Miami Herald: Trafficking of Haitian children in the Dominican Republic rising

The Miami Herald reports that earthquake survivors are being smuggled across the border, then put to work as prostitutes, peddlers and beggars.

“All the officials know who the traffickers are, but don’t report them. It is a problem that is not going to end because the authorities’ sources of income would dry up,” said Regino Martínez, a Jesuit priest and director of the Border Solidarity Foundation in Dajabón, a Dominican border town.

Martínez has denounced the problem from the pulpit, to community groups and to the heads of CESFRONT, the Dominican Republic’s Specialized Corps for Borderland Security.

Leaders in both nations, following the catastrophic earthquake that killed an estimated 300,000 people, pledged to protect children from predatory smuggling, a historic problem.

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Are we moving fast enough in Haiti?

There will be a hearing of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, to be held in Room 2172 of the Rayburn House Office Building (and available live, via the WEBCAST link on the Committee website at

DATE: Thursday, July 29, 2010
TIME: 9:30 a.m.
SUBJECT: The Crisis in Haiti: Are We Moving Fast Enough?

The Honorable Rajiv Shah


United States Agency for International Development

Panel II

Mr. Samuel A. Worthington

President and CEO


Mr. Jimmy Jean-Louis


Goodwill Ambassador

Pan American Development Foundation

Haiti earthquake survivors living in appalling circumstances

Six months after the earthquake disaster in Haiti, more than one million survivors continue to live in appalling conditions, with inadequate sanitation, limited access to services, insecurity and food shortages.

“It is time the Haitian government, international community and UN agencies to take concrete steps to address the protection, food security, education, sanitation and other needs of the most vulnerable populations, including those living in unofficial camps. It is essential the international donor community release the funds promised for Haiti without restrictions and facilitate the involvement of Haitian political and civil society groups in tackling the humanitarian crisis and initiating reconstruction in the country,” said Jesuit Refugee Service – Haiti Director Fr. Wismith Lazard, S.J.

Conditions in many of the nearly 1,400 camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) around the capital, Port-au-Prince, are extremely critical. The case of the largest IDP camp where JRS serves, Automeca, with a population of 12,000, is typical: residents continue to live in shacks held up by rags and poles. There are no schools or electricity; sanitation is poor, the water barely drinkable and drainage, to say the least, hazardous. When heavy rain falls, garbage rushes through the camp.

“Camp management and aid delivery structures should always include consultation and cooperation with the displaced people who are swiftly forming their own organizations to advocate for their own particular needs. More attention must be placed on supporting the food and relief needs for IDP recipient communities and people not living in camps so that moving to a camp is not the only way for people to receive minimal food, water, and livelihood assistance,” said JRS/USA Director Fr. Kenneth J. Gavin, S.J.

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First Lady Michelle Obama visits Haiti

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden arrived in a quake-battered Port-au-Prince, Haiti  this morning. The two landed at 10:40 a.m., taking a helicopter tour of the Haitian capital where more than one million people remain homeless, many living underneath tents and tarps.

Their visit comes a day after Haitians acknowledged the three-month anniversary of the Jan. 12th, 7.0-magnitude earthquake that ripped through the capital and four smaller southern cities.

The Obama administration released this statement about the visit, which was kept hush until the landing:

“First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden are visiting Haiti to underscore to the Haitian people and the Haitian government the enduring U.S. commitment to help Haiti recover and rebuild, especially as we enter the rainy and hurricane seasons, and to thank the women and men across the whole of the U.S. government for their extraordinary efforts in Haiti during the past three months.  They will also reach out to the UN and international relief communities in recognition of the truly global effort underway to help Haiti.”

Rescued from Haiti, now jailed for lacking visas

The New York Times reports that

More than two months after the earthquake that devastated Haiti, at least 30 survivors who were waved onto planes by Marines in the chaotic aftermath are prisoners of the United States immigration system, locked up since their arrival in detention centers in Florida.

In Haiti, some were pulled from the rubble, their legal advocates say. Some lost parents, siblings or children. Many were seeking food, safety or medical care at the Port-au-Prince airport when terrifying aftershocks prompted hasty evacuations by military transports, with no time for immigration processing. None have criminal histories.

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1.2 million still homeless two months after Haiti earthquake

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will make a one-day visit to Haiti on Sunday, his second to the Caribbean country since the January 12 earthquake, his spokesperson announced today.

While in the capital, Port-au-Prince, Mr. Ban will meet with President René Préval and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, as well as with the leadership of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti and UN agencies working on the ground, Martin Nesirky told reporters.

The Secretary-General will also visit a camp housing some of the estimated 1.2 million people displaced by the 7.0-magnitude quake.

Meanwhile, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has announced that the $1.44 billion revised humanitarian appeal for Haiti is only 49 per cent funded.

Two months after the earthquake, the humanitarian work is picking up speed, OCHA noted, with more than 4.3 million people having received food assistance, 1.2 million people receiving daily water distributions, and more than 300,000 children and adults vaccinated against a range of infectious diseases, including measles, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough.

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Shelter critical need for post-quake Haiti

Returning from seeing first-hand the destruction wrought by the earthquake that struck Chile last month, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the urgent need for shelter, which is also a priority for millions of quake survivors in Haiti.

“Shelter is very important and an urgent one for both Haiti and Chile,” Mr. Ban said at UN Headquarters, following his visit to Chile over the weekend to get a fuller picture of the extent of the damage from the 27 February quake and to better assess how the UN can best help.

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