Jailed missionaries ignored warning

PORT-AU-PRINCE—Haiti resumed
allowing orphans already in the adoption pipeline to leave the country, as it
continued its child-trafficking investigation of 10 American missionaries
arrested Friday for allegedly attempting to ferry 33 children out of the
country.

In
an email to the United Nations on an American human-rights activist recounted
meeting the leader of the missionaries before they entered Haiti and warning
that the group’s plan to collect 100 Haitian orphans was illegal because they
lacked proper authorisation.

Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive
addressed the case of the 10 missionaries, telling reporters that “it is
clear now that they knew what they were doing was wrong.”

Mazar Fortil, the prosecutor in
Port-au-Prince who is handling the case, said the 10 missionaries face charges
of abduction of underage minors, human trafficking and conspiracy. He said that
the investigation had been delayed because an official translator for the
investigating magistrate had not been sworn in.

Anne-Christine
d’Adesky, a writer nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her
reporting in Haiti, said she told the missionaries they could be regarded as
traffickers if they tried to cross the border without the proper documentation.

“I
really have to let you know that you are very likely to be stopped at the
border, and you may even be in trouble,” d’Adesky said she told the Americans.

Laura
Silsby, one of the people arrested, has pleaded ignorance, insisting she did
not fully understand the procedures.

D’Adesky
said she warned the missionaries the night before they entered Haiti. But, she
said, Silsby’s response was

“We have been sent by the Lord
to rescue these children, and if it’s in the Lord’s plan we will be successful.”

A
Haitian judge is expected to rule Tuesday whether there is sufficient evidence
to try the 10 jailed American
missionaries for child trafficking.

WORLDjailedSTORY

Arrested missionaries await their fate inside a Haitian jail cell
Reuters

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