Home > asian tsunami, child trafficking, Haiti earthquake 2004, religion > Haiti struggles to recover as American Baptist group caught trafficking children

Haiti struggles to recover as American Baptist group caught trafficking children

As Haiti tries to recover from the aftermath of the devastating earthquake, an American Baptist group is detained trying to smuggle children out of the country.

Here are some startling revelations from the news…

1) A cop suspects that the children were to be sold for $10,000 each.

2) One girl was not even an orphan and thought she was being taken for a vacation by friendly people from America and the Dominican Republic…!

3) A 40 year old woman “didnt think it was naive to cross a border without proper documentation for the children”… (I wonder how she would react if it was her own child that someone took for a ‘joy ride’ without telling her about it! How can such irresponsibly naive people be allowed to go and help children is a question that baffles me!)

Whats particularly sickening about the episode is that inspite of the growing threat of child trafficking, the poor people of Haiti have no choice but to continue to seek outside help. And for those children who are really orphaned, the option to be adopted has been cut off because the Government, overwhelmed by the quake, has put a halt to adoption in response to the growing threat of child trafficking!

Here is an excerpt from an article on msnbc.

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Tension among religious groups

As the poorest country in the western hemisphere, Haiti is in a difficult spot — it needs aid, but deeply resents foreign meddling. Many have an uneasy relationship with American evangelical Christian groups that funnel hundreds of millions of dollars into their missions in Haiti.

Since Haiti became the world’s first black republic in 1804, its people have seen several U.S. military occupations, was wrongly blamed for the spread of AIDS and has been vilified for the Voodoo traditions brought from West Africa. Voodoo is one of Haiti’s two constitutionally recognized religions, along with Roman Catholicism, and two-thirds of Haiti’s 9 million people are said to worship its spirits.

One Voodoo leader said the Idaho group’s plan — to give each child “new life in Christ” while facilitating their adoptions by “loving Christian families” in the United States — is deeply offensive.

“There are many who come here with religious ideas that belong more in the time of the inquisition,” said Max Beauvoir, head of Haiti’s Voodoo Priest’s Association, which represents thousands of priests and priestesses. “These types of people believe they need to save our souls and our bodies from ourelves. We need compassion, not proselytizing now, and we need aid — not just aid going to people of the Christian faith.”

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The last line of this article strikes a familiar chord and reminds me of something similar that happened in wake of the tsunami that stuck India and south-asia in 2004. During that period of crisis, some relief organizations received aid from the Indian Government and were found to be using the aid money to convert the poor and desperate people to Christianity.

1) Many fisher-folk had lost their boats during the tsunami and the organizations gave aid readily to those who were willing to convert to Christianity. Those who did not convert were left without a boat as their applications were buried in bureaucratic red tape.

2) The organizations dug up so called “christian wells” where people who were either following Christianity or had adopted it were allowed to draw water from it. Those who did not convert had to walk 5-6 Kms EVERY DAY to fetch a pot of drinking water.

Such incidents really irk me because while it is bad to manipulate uneducated and poor people even in normal circumstances; it is extremely unethical to do it in times of duress and natural disasters.

1) What choice does a poor person have when faced with the option of choosing a particular religion over seeing his family go hungry or thirsty?

2) How ethical is it to offer “selective” help to people in times of a calamity? It is an extremely bad form of racism in my books.

Personally speaking, I find it hurtful when religion is used to manipulate people and dupe them when they are already undergoing a hard time.

In the Indian context, the poor fisherman whose daily meal is provided by the boat that he just lost… The already poor  person has been left hungry, thirsty and helpless and is eager for any form of help and relief… What a vile, cunning, low-life approach is it to offer aid to such a vulnerable individual by giving him the option : convert -or- die a slow and painful, inhuman death!

In case of Haiti, the poor children, many of them genuine orphans, who have already lost their parents, have been buried under rubble, who have gone hungry, thirsty for days, were lucky to be rescued from the hands of pedophiles who could potentially torture, molest, rape, enslave these unsuspecting kids!

The article on this news can be read here and here.

The incident raises some questions in my mind about religion and religious beliefs –

Shouldn’t religion be a way to be helpful to people and make life better for everyone?

When all religions preach the same basic values, why do we try to indulge in chest-thumping and claim that “only my way is the right way to God” and everyone else will be doomed?

Why is it so difficult to appreciate the good in other religions and accept them as equally good ways on the path to God?

Are religious leaders really afraid that their sect will diminish if they give people the option to choose?

Do they think that inducing fear in the minds of people is the “only” way to prevent them from joining a different group?

Do you think it is right for religious groups to manipulate people and use such calamities to increase their membership?

Do let me know your thoughts and view points below….

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  1. March 12, 2012 at 17:24

    Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the write-up. It proved to become Pretty helpful to me and I am positive to all the commenters here It’s always great when you can not only be informed, but also entertained I’m certain you had fun writing this post.

  2. May 9, 2010 at 01:28

    Wow, how did I miss reading this one…Lovely article Spike..well written.

    Post more often, will ya?

  3. March 10, 2010 at 13:00

    very nice article spikey !!

    such religiouss groups are doing no good for their religion as well ..as a person will not follow , respect or even value their religious beliefs ..its sick that such situations that need human empathy and support provide oppertunities for further exploitation of the sufferers …children and women are always the vulnerable group …i doont know how some one will get pleasure from raping a women who has been bruised and without food and water for days !! how inhuman can we get at times …
    u are so tight about ignorance and pretence …how can a 40 year old be ignorant about crossing borders without passport /papers ..
    there have been many cases in india about the people working in orphanages exploiting the kids and even selling them to other people for flesh trade .

  4. February 22, 2010 at 20:24

    I feel you guys

  5. February 1, 2010 at 12:19

    Religious groups somehow wait for such opportunities and make sure they take complete advantage of the situation! It is actually quite sick! I hate to see them do such things. Religious groups are usually a respected lot in all countries but I am afraid if they keep doing such things, nobody would believe them any more.

    If I speak from the victim’s point of view, I don’t see anything wrong in converting religion if I can get food and shelter. This is something religious groups should not take advantage of! Very sick indeed!

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