Should these people be thanked, not condemned?

There’s a mixture of anger, cynicism and disgust here, here and here on blogs (and lots more elsewhere) towards the ten Americans due in court in Haiti today on child trafficking charges.

But a British clergyman just back from Haiti on a domestic BBC phone-in I was listening to last night talked about people “genuinely doing their best in difficult circumstances“.

We found out on WHYS a couple of weeks ago that any sort of movement of children away from Haiti post-earthquake is contentious enough.

In this case, the country’s Prime Minister has used the word kidnap.

But even if the church group did technically break the rules on paperwork – rather than child trafficking, were they not, as this blogger insists, “practising love and compassion“?

Should the blogosphere – and the Haitian legal system – give them a break? Or does a country in dire straits have to clamp down hard to stop people taking advantage?

15 Responses to “Should these people be thanked, not condemned?”

  1. 1 piscator
    February 1, 2010 at 11:50

    I always feel a little uneasy when known corrupt governments talk about ‘not filling in the correct paperwork’. Makes one wonder about the extent of the problem. Maybe other people have ‘filed in the correct paperwork’, and made off with children.
    Certainly all of the children who have been kidnapped from their relations in Haiti already should be sent back and processed by the legitimate experienced aid agencies before any other action is taken to resettle them.

  2. February 1, 2010 at 12:21

    I think this is cable news hysteria, and there is no real story here.

  3. 3 Pancha Chandra
    February 1, 2010 at 12:33

    First it has to be ascertained whether this group was really trying to help. Once this has been thoroughly investigated, there should be no further lingering doubts. If the members were genuinely trying to help, they should not be hampered in their humanitarian actions. But of course there is another dimension to this problem. There have bee been reports that some of the kids have surviving parents. So the cases have to be thoroughly investigated. The group really wants to help these children but they have been lax with the paper-work.

  4. 4 patti in cape coral
    February 1, 2010 at 14:00

    From the link I read there is no way to know yet what the “kidnapper’s” intentions were. There is a lot of he said-she said going on. I think I’ll wait for more information before I form an opinion, but I do have to say that under such difficult circumstances paperwork and records become even more important than they were before. What if these children have family members who are looking for them? I’m not a big fan of paperwork, believe me, I have a long, intimate, and contentious relationship with immigration paperwork. But it has a purpose, and for the most part, it’s a good one. The problem is that paperwork takes time, and it’s hard to watch children suffer while they wait for a signature. Still, it’s a necessary evil.

  5. 5 T
    February 1, 2010 at 14:05

    Consider the history of Haiti. How many countries have taken advantage of them and continue to do so in many ways? Of course they have the right to enforce their laws.

    If these Americans operate in Haiti, they’re subject to their laws.

  6. 6 Jagjit Singh Mukandpuri
    February 1, 2010 at 16:00

    Helping hands allways should be thanked. But we should keep in mind, that country’s laws and UN charter. Thanks.

  7. 7 Jim
    February 1, 2010 at 16:14

    Having been to Haiti and having spent time in a few orphanages, I can only say that those advocating for perfect paperwork, etc. lack a full understanding of the reality of Haitian life. Unless you’ve been there, you assume there is some typical governmental infrastructure in place. There is none – and that is before the quake. The simple (albeit painful) truth is that the government of Haiti has totally failed to care for these children. The ONLY hope they have is from an outside caregiver. Life for hundreds of thousands of Haitian children is so bleak that almost any change would be for the better – and I do mean ANY change. Had I not been there, I would have thought someone saying what I just said was stupid at best, or evil at worst. Now I know that what I just said is simply a fact.

  8. 8 Cabe Searle
    February 1, 2010 at 16:20

    Sorry but at the Least – I think they were thoughtless and irresponsible – at the very least!
    Too many ‘celebrity’ adoptions like Madonna and Angelina Jolie, have been in the World news recently – that no one on the Planet (and especially America!) – should be ignorant of the amount of red-tape and paperwork they would need to make adopting a foreign child Legal!
    Just picking up children off the streets and heading for the border is appalling, no matter how holy or good their intentions were! We don’t know anything about these people. They could be a religious Cult or sell the kids when they get to the US, and they certainly never had any orphanage in place for the kids to go straight into?
    BUT apart from all that – it is far too soon to be spiriting children away from a disaster area. Serious efforts must be given a chance first, to find out it they really Are orphans or not…. And, sad as it is, the kids will have to wait in an orphanage in their own home town, surrounded by the culture they know than by the devil they don’t!

  9. February 1, 2010 at 18:04

    These people should be treated with great suspicion and not be allowed back into Haiti.

    Children are not commodities to be bought and sold, and rearranged as fodder for childless couples. These children belong in their own country with the right number of resources to help them find their relatives, if there are any left, and to have an alternative secure family life in Haiti if they haven’t any family.

    You cannot deprive Haiti of its future. Given the proper support and love these children are the future for that country and should be supported to live there in order to built Haiti’s future instead of being treated like sweeties to be handed out to sentimental adults, or ruthless adults, or paedophiles.

  10. 10 TomK in Mpls
    February 1, 2010 at 18:21

    Intentions mean nothing. Should we let well intentioned idiot cause dramatic harm? Or tell them that since they meant well, they are free to try it again? Or maybe give some genuine criminals an idea on how to exploit a newly discovered weakness in the system?

    I’m not saying they rate harsh punishment, just that sometimes there is more to be gained by harsh treatment than is lost by the possibly undeserving few. Face it, nothing is perfect.

  11. 11 Alan in Arizona
    February 1, 2010 at 19:18

    You would think an intelligent group of people specializing in this type of activity, would know every applicable Government Form backwards and forwards.

    You would think the Orphanage they worked with would be even more capable.

    You would think it would be more cost effective to help them in their own country until life there and the country were a little more stable.

    I think there is something fishes going on here. Why would there be extra paperwork they didn’t know about, if this is something that they do regularly? Is the government planning on extorting additional money from their organization. Are they just stupid?

    Something tells me both aspects are applicable in the situation. The government wants their money, their church wants donations for their work. I think it all revolves around MONEY!

  12. 12 amy
    February 1, 2010 at 19:27

    One’s initial reaction is that their intentions were good. However, I was watching CNN today and saw just how niave the whole group was. They had no documentation and many of the children had parents who didn’t have the capacity to take care of their kids. There are so many organizations doing things in the right way. However, what is super important is that this makes people aware how easy children can just disappear in a situation like this, whether their intentions were good or not. If this helps prevent one child from being brought into a bad situation….all this coverage is super important.

  13. February 1, 2010 at 19:56

    It is 100% unconscionably to use a natural disaster to enter a country and steal children because “God told me so”.

    Flaunting the legal paperwork that is required is a crime. That paperwork exists so that there is investigation and documentation of foreign adoptions. Are we not all aware that children from poor countries are often stolen by traffickers for slave labor or sexual slavery, or to be sold to desperate Westerners wanting to adopt?

    These people did not treat the children well, did not check to see if they had living families or relatives, did not notify the Haitian or US governments, have no experience handling transnational adoptions, and followed no legal guidelines in order to ensure that what they were doing was not a crime.

    They attempted international child trafficking.

    Just because children are poor, or are potentially orphans, does NOT give white Christian Americans the right to steal them for adoptive families in America.

    A middle-class American childhood is NOT categorically superior to a poor Haitian childhood.

    White middle-class Christian American parents are NOT categorically superior to poor brown or black Haitian parents who practice Voodoo.

    This is all about cultural imperialism under the guise of religion and “doing good”. It takes a deep-seated sense of superiority and entitlement to attempt what these people attempted.

  14. 14 Idris Dangalan
    February 1, 2010 at 20:08

    Am in position of not supporting this intention even though I it is a good and intention but may used this good intention to achieve their bad intention.

  15. February 7, 2010 at 06:23

    Now that this has blown the hell UP, it might be a good time to readdress the question?

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