If you're a child born to poor parents in Haiti, chances are your career options are slave, slave, or slave. That's because approximately 225,000 children in Haiti live in situations of modern-day slavery. That's nearly a quarter million child slaves in one country. The existence of Haitian child slaves, often referred to as restaveks, has been documented for a long time. However, this is the first time the scope of the issue has truly been understood to be so large.What happens to poor children, orphaned children, slave children when chaos strikes? Well, one would hope they get rescued but that's not what happens. Because these problems are never meant to be resolved. People in authority don't actually resolve problems, even when they know about them. They can't, you see. They're not supposed to.
Restaveks are usually children from extremely poor families who are sent away to work as domestic servants in wealthier homes. The children aren't paid for their work, but provided shelter and a sometimes meager meal supply. In the best case scenarios, families will send their restavek children to school. But restaveks often work long days performing a variety of household tasks for nothing more that a meal or two a day. Two-thirds of restaveks are girls, and they are extremely vulnerable to rape and sexual abuse from the families who house and control them. The life of a restavek child in Haiti often varies between bleak and hopeless, and many children never successfully leave their slave conditions.
In 2002 the BBC reported on a UN report about child trafficking in Haiti.
Thousands of Haitian children are being smuggled into the Dominican Republic each year and forced to beg or work as manual labourers, according to a United Nations report. About 2,500 minors, some as young as five-years-old, are brought into the country illegally, the report’s authors found. Traffickers on either side of the shared border smuggle the youngsters into the Dominican Republic to work as farm hands, construction workers and street peddlers.A year ago The Guardian conducted an investigation and reported more disturbing details about trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago, not all so far away:
PORT OF SPAIN: Sunday December 21 2008, The Guardian newspaper of Trinidad published a disturbing report in which it alleges that human traffickers are on the prowl, looking to lure children and women to sell them for big money. The report states that “children, because they live longer, are sold for over $200,000. Adults can fetch as much as $100,000. They are mostly used as sex slaves and sometimes for slave labour.The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago denied these reports, citing lack of evidence.
“Sometimes, they are used to make pay-offs in the drug trade — a well placed source informed the Sunday Guardian.” The report stated that men owing drug lords are being lured into capturing humans, who will be sold for payment of their debts. A source, pleading for anonymity for fear of his life, said victims were drugged almost immediately after capture and their cellphones switched off.
A Sunday Guardian investigation revealed that the lucrative human trafficking ring is operating in the Cascade/St Ann’s area, between Sangre Grande and Tunapuna, Diego Martin and in South. Women have mysteriously disappeared from the Cascade area without a trace during the past year and “several straying young boys have vanished from the streets of San Fernando“.
The report further stated that the clandestine local trade, which operates through a well organised network and is supported by several powerful agencies, is linked to an international human trafficking ring.
Even some policemen are convinced that there is a human trafficking ring in Trinidad and they suspect that a number of missing persons have been victims of the trade, but were reluctant to say more. According to the newspaper report, “fingers are pointing at a popular businessman, who has been described as the ‘big man’ in the human trade.” “He’s popular. He is also linked with other businessmen across the country.”
The information was unearthed by a local resident after a female relative went missing several months ago. The man said his family, desperate for answers, launched their own investigation with the support of a police officer and local private investigators.
The Guardian newspaper reported that she said there is "no empirical evidence to show the existence of human trafficking... it must be noted, however, that T&T was part of a world which was shrinking in size through the effects of globalisation.”Where does the evidence go? What is the evidence? People are evidence. If the people are being trafficked, then it stands to reason that to find the evidence, one must find the trafficked people. But where do they go?
This, of course, gets to the heart of the problem. Because obviously, if we have rich and powerful people feeding poor and powerless human beings into an organized international trafficking ring, the empirical evidence will always go missing. That's the point! The people -- the evidence -- just "disappear," to be used up and sacrificed in whatever evil manner suits those who purchase them. With the judicious application of money or blackmail in key spots -- airport security, customs, judges, police, social services, etc. -- the problem can go on forever and ever and ever. Nobody will ever be able to solve it, since the people/evidence disappear and are eventually discarded. And if anyone accuses the powerful people involved of human trafficking, he or she will never be believed, or else he or she might have an unfortunate accident.
One might also note the Jamaican al Qaeda terrorist al-Faisal, who has most conveniently appeared bar-hopping in Africa. Of course he has been linked to the underpants bomber, and is on an international list of suspected terrorists, but that doesn't seem to slow him down much.
Born in St James, Jamaica, in 1963 under the name of Trevor William Forrest and raised as a Christian by parents who were very active in the Salvation Army, al-Faisal’s career as a terrorist couldn’t be more surprising. He is believed to have left for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at the age of 16, where he obtained a degree in Islamic studies, after eight years, before returning to the United Kingdom.Hahaha, no it "couldn't be more surprising." Good one. But the show is moving to The West, via the Caribbean. The Caribbean will link Africa, Europe, Asia, Russia, the Middle East, drugs, terrorism. Human trafficking we don't discuss, that is taboo. All these other things will be discussed, in the context of dangers to The Good People of The West.
From a 2005 report:
Security threats emanating from the Caribbean Basin typically revolve around its position as a key trans-shipment point for South American narcotics to the United States and Europe, as well as illegal immigration, money laundering, and other forms of banking and document fraud. Indeed, organized criminal networks from as far away as Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Asia, in addition to U.S. and South American organizations, have a formidable presence in the region.
In the wake of the September 11 attacks, however, many observers began to look at the region’s potential as a base of operations for radical Islamist terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda to stage attacks against the U.S. and its interests in the Western Hemisphere. Upon cursory examination, the region’s geographic proximity to the U.S., porous borders, widespread poverty and endemic corruption, energy reserves, not to mention the tens of thousands of Americans and Europeans who vacation there at any given time of the year, make it an attractive target.
Unfortunately, a cursory examination is all that is ever required to weave a plausible narrative. In fact, the examination must remain cursory at all times. No digging around please. Cass Sunstein does not approve of conspiracy theories. It would be rude to notice that the best and the brightest know all about the links between international organized crime -- drug trafficking, arms trafficking, people trafficking and money laundering -- and they can get together and have important meetings to discuss coordinating policies and strengthen regional cooperation blah blah BLAH (and wink wink wink), and they have every resource imaginable at their disposal, but nothing ever gets solved. http://www.un.org/apps/news/storyAr.asp?NewsID=8906&Cr=human&Cr1=
17 November 2003 – Latin American and Caribbean countries will discuss how to combat the practice of trafficking in people later this week during a three-day conference organized by the United Nations.And so, as they all rush down to Haiti, all these trusty experts from all over the world, and proceed to tell us to keep sending money and at the same time we hear how difficult it is for the aid to get delivered to the people in need. I'm sorry but are you fucking kidding me? Is it not the same in Every Single Disaster??? THE SAME???? All this rush of people and money to the desperate people in need, and somehow, the experts can never figure out how to make it all come together on the ground? It is as if they never learn anything, and each disaster is the first disaster, and they are surprised that the roads are blocked with debris and there are bottlenecks. But please send more money. And the people of course, reduced to survival mode, do what they need to do to survive, and then we hear about the looting and the rioting? Tsk tsk tsk. Yes, of course, chaos.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has arranged the summit, to be held in Bogotá from Wednesday, through its country offices in Colombia and Ecuador as it fights the disturbing rise in human trafficking in the region.
The conference is expected to focus on finding ways to strengthen regional collaboration and developing agreements for better international judicial and police cooperation, according to a statement issued today by the UN Information Service in Vienna.
UNODC says indicators show that international organized crime, especially drug trafficking, arms trafficking and money laundering, is closely linked to trafficking in people. The reasons for trafficking can vary from forced labour to sexual exploitation.
The summit will be attended by experts and government officials from across Latin America and the Caribbean, as well government officials from Sweden and the Czech Republic, UNODC officials from Africa and Asia, the International Organization for Migration and academics in the field.
That's the narrative. It's all so unfortunate, but no one in authority is ever to blame.
One might find alternative explanations, but Cass Sunstein would not approve.
We see in Haiti a suitable environment to take advantage, to have meetings and coordinate policies and strengthen regional cooperation for the international crime syndicate.
UPDATE: Actual "big meeting" takes place, with stunning proposals like this:
Fernandez also proposed the rehabilitation of the maritime and aerial ports of Haiti handle the humanitarian aid.Yeah. GOOD idea. Somebody should get on that right away.
Attending parties at the pre-summit include: Dominican Republic's President Leonel Fernandez and the representatives of Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Dominica, Spain, Jamaica, United States, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago, reps from the World Bank, the Inter American Development Bank, the Community of the Caribbean, the International Red Cross, the UN, the OAS and the European Union, and Haitian President Rene Preval. The actual summit will be January 25 in Montreal, "to evaluate the work plans drafted by the United Nations (UN) and Organization of American States (OAS) in Haiti."
Proposals and evaluations.
UPDATE: Haiti quake creates thousands of new orphans. Officials can't even venture a number and they sure as heck don't know what to do with them all.
Tens of thousands of children have been orphaned by the earthquake, aid groups say - so many that officials won’t venture a number. With so many buildings destroyed and growing chaos in the capital, it is conceivable that many children are alone.Oh geez, it's too bad the UN didn't know about all these problems sooner otherwise they could have some programs up and running already. Oh WAIT A SECOND....
...In the meantime, U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes said the United Nations is establishing a group whose mission on the ground in Haiti will be to protect children - orphans and non-orphans alike - against trafficking, kidnapping and sex abuse.
UPDATE: Haiti takeover by "Uncle Sam"
Thousands of American soldiers have poured into Port-au-Prince airport since US President Barack Obama announced he was ordering a “swift and aggressive” campaign to help millions of Haitians left homeless by last week’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Six days after the quake, however, precious little aid is getting beyond the airport perimeters — largely because of security concerns — and aid agencies with long experience of operating in disaster zones have complained that their flights in are being blocked unnecessarily.