Autor: Kleber Lora
Category: Evangelismo entre Niños
Children trafficking at DR/Haiti Border – A Response from the Church at Hispaniola Island
Dominican Republic and Haiti share an Island that hosted the 1st European city built in America, named Santo Domingo, after Columbus visited the Hemisphere in 1492. These 2 nations, sharing a 77 thousand square kilometers, are a mixed of Africans and Europeans, after the aborigines where erased by slavery and diseases.
The Caribbean has been impacted by trafficking and slavery for more than 5 centuries. The first trafficking of people occurred very early when the dying aborigines were replaced by Africans that were transported to the Caribbean to become slaves, with no respect for their dignity as creation of our merciful God.
Haiti is the poorest country of America and there are people that want to take advantage of that. Poor families in Haiti are convinced by member of trafficking networks to “rent” their children during school summer to be transported to the DR and be placed in crowded streets of Santo Domingo, a 3 million people city, to ask car drivers for coins. The money is then collected by these crime networks. These children are subject to many risks, including violence, sexual abuse, neglecting education and be never returned to their homes in Haiti.
Other children are raised in DR by Haitian workers. These children frequently don’t have identity documents. Even though they have a mixed of Haitian and Dominican culture they have never been in the country of their parents. These children grow in the “Bateys”, neighborhood of Haitian workers in DR, living in extreme poverty.
But there is hope! I have experienced a model of an Island wide church network, working for the children in poverty. Between Haiti and DR there are more than 400 churches working intentionally to address the need of children in poverty in Jesus’ name. These churches are reaching 100 thousand children (more than 1 by each square km of Hispanila Island).
The model is named Christian Holistic Child Development (HCD) and is based on the local church. Each church is supporting around 300 children and youth, providing spiritual, physical, educational and emotional support. In Haiti, the churches in the network are preventing children from been targets of the trafficking networks, rising awareness among families and community.
In DR, a few churches in the networks are working the “Bateys” to provide support to these children in poverty, which are now 2nd or 3rd generation of Haitian parents. We have record of 12 churches in DR that are working for more than 4,000 Haitian descendants, blessing these children through the model of local churches committed and equipped to advocate for children in poverty. Praise the Lord!