The “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation is alarmed by the situation of victims of human trafficking in Haiti, including thousands of vulnerable children.
On the occasion of July 30, 2023, World Day for the Dignity of Victims of Human Trafficking, the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation is outraged by acts comparable to human trafficking in Haiti. The situation of extreme poverty in which thousands of Haitian children live favors child trafficking through international adoptions and the establishment of orphanages which do not respect national and international standards. In addition, many Haitian children are victims of trafficking to the Dominican Republic for the purposes of begging, prostitution and other forms of illicit practices affecting their dignity. On the Haitian side, around 300 thousand children in domestic situations still live without state protection and far from their parents in violation of their rights guaranteed by Haitian law and the international convention on the rights of the child.
The “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation is also alarmed by the rise in cases of kidnappings, followed by kidnapping for ransoms which is rampant in Haiti. This lucrative trade in human beings (children, women, men) established in Haiti by armed groups and their accomplices at different levels of society is the worst form of insecurity and crime that the country has faced over the last two years. Despite the rigor of Haitian law, no conviction of human trafficking traffickers has been handed down by Haitian courts for three consecutive years. In this sense, the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation is concerned by the non-compliance with the additional protocol to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime aimed at preventing, suppressing and punishing trafficking in persons, particularly women and children. . This international instrument was ratified by the Haitian State in 2009.
Considered a form of modern slavery, human trafficking constitutes an affront to human dignity and human rights. However, this phenomenon is still expanding around the world. Every day, men, women and children are sold and bought as commodities for pimping, forced labor, organ harvesting and other illicit acts in violation of international human rights law. . This illegal activity generates a large number of victims, estimated at nearly 25 million people according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
In the Haitian national context, illegal migrants and children in domestic service are among the favorite victims of human trafficking. The efforts of the Haitian authorities in the fight to eradicate human trafficking are reduced due to several harmful factors that weaken the State such as: corruption, widespread gang violence, institutional instability, crisis politics, extreme poverty, among others. This is why Haiti remained on the United States Department of State’s Level 2 watch list for the third year in a row. To avoid falling into category 3, which corresponds to the lowest level of the assessment, efforts must be made to combat the phenomenon in Haiti. The “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation notes that a series of recommendations was addressed to the Haitian government in the latest report from the Department of State of the United States of America. These recommendations serve as the basis for a 2023-2024 action plan against human trafficking developed for Haiti by the National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons (CNLTP). This plan contains strategies for strengthening awareness-raising efforts, assistance, support for victims and strengthening the legal framework against human trafficking in Haiti.
Given the current circumstances favoring all forms of human rights violations, including child trafficking, the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation encourages the provisional government to create a secure climate in order to improve the living conditions of the Haitian population. The “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation, as a child rights organization, believes that the government must also investigate all cases of trafficking to prevent Haiti from falling into level 3 in 2024. This situation could lead to serious international sanctions against the Republic of Haiti, including the freezing of funds intended for social services for the population. Finally, the “Zanmi Timoun” Foundation calls for the rigorous application of the law on human trafficking to punish the perpetrators and protect the victims, particularly children in Haiti.
Done in Port-au-Prince, July 30, 2023