Recently, five precious little boys were brought to our Project 7 Children's Village by the Haitian child protective services. The boys [ages four, five, six, nine and fourteen] were being trafficked from Port Au Prince into the Dominican Republic. These five boys, along with eight other children which are still missing, were apprehended in the company of a Haitian "pastor" who apparently was planning to sell the children as child slaves. It is not known whether the Dominican Republic was their final destination or whether the children would be trafficked even further, into other countries. Devastatingly, the eight other children have not yet been found. The traffickers have not been found. We are praying that the others will be found and are eternally grateful that these five boys were rescued from a life of exploitation and brought into our care at the Project 7 Children’s Village.
Right now, our amazing Haitian child psychologist Ricardo is working regularly with the boys to help them process their traumatic experience and the Haitian child protective service is working to further investigate the case.
What we know at the moment is that these boys come from two different families and do have living parents. However, it is still unknown if the parents were aware of what would happen to the children, once they were handed over to the trafficker. In many cases of child trafficking, parents actually sell a child, knowing full well that he/she will subsequently be sold into a life of slavery and exploitation. In other cases, traffickers deceive parents with false promises of a better life for their children -- offering them the hope that their children will have an education, be well taken care of and even get citizenship in a country with more opportunities. Often these promises are hard for caring parents to resist, as they genuinely desire a better future for their children. We pray that for the sake of these children their situation is the latter, but we have yet to find out.
Many may be shocked to learn that Haiti has been ranked as having the 8th highest prevalence of modern slavery out of 167 countries analyzed by the Global Slavery Index of 2016, and is ranked as the number one country for the prevalence of modern slavery in the Americas.1 In 2013 the U.S. Department of State estimated that there are between 150,000 - 500,000 children in domestic servitude in households throughout Haiti.2 In addition to forced labor, these children are vulnerable to beatings, sexual assaults and other abuses by family members in the homes in which they reside. Sadly, the neighboring Dominican Republic has a similarly troubling problem, with an estimated 104,800 people trapped in slavery, most of whom are children.
In addition to cooperating with the Haitian government in the impending investigation for the five young boys who have been brought into our care our goal now is to help these sweet children gain some sense of normalcy and to feel like they belong to the Project 7 family. We are working to build some beds for them (we are currently at full capacity and children are doubling up), get them started in the local private school, provide them with healthy food and clothing, and ensure psychological care, health care, and as much love as possible. We want these boys to be whole and healthy and to thrive even in the midst of this traumatic situation.
If you would like to help support the daily needs of these beautiful five new additions to our Children's Village, we are needing to raise funds to provide for all the needs listed above for the next twelve months.
Donate here to support the Children's Village monthly budgeted needs for all the children.
One of the goals from the genesis of the Project 7 Children's Village was that it would be safe haven for children rescued from slavery in Haiti, and that it would also be a place that helps prevent child slavery by taking in the most vulnerable children. We have been able to prevent exploitation for over thirty children and have been able to directly rescue and provide a safe haven for several victims of child trafficking and modern slavery. God has truly answered the cry of our hearts to be a beacon of hope for the most vulnerable children, but we know there is still so much more to do!
Please pray with us for:
Justice -- Please pray that the traffickers and others responsible for the exploitation of these children would be brought to justice and that the eight children who are still missing would be found.
Wisdom -- Pray for wisdom for the Haitian child protective services as they try to determine the role and responsibility of the parents and other adults involved.
Restoration -- Please pray for the total healing and restoration of these five little boys and that they would be able to process the trauma they have experienced in a healthy way.
Reunification -- A sister of some of the boys is part of the eight still missing. They brothers have expressed much distress over her safety. Please pray that she is found and that the children can be reunited SOON!
Provision -- Please pray that there would be the provision in order for us to care for these new additions to the Children's Village.