American Missionaries Under Arrest for Reportedly Trying to Rescue Haitian Earthquake Orphans

American missionaries travel to Haiti to rescue thirty-three earthquake orphans by taking them, temporarily, to an orphanage in the Dominican Republic, and then back to families in the US prepared to take the children in.

According to their lawyer, the missionaries are said to be in possession of paperwork backing up their authorization to remove the children from Haiti. But it is unclear whether the authorization is proper, or whether the children had passports.

It turns out that twenty of the children may not actually be orphans and may have one or more living parents. And their parents allegedly claim that the missionaries were only supposed to educate the children in the Dominican Republic, not take them to the US.

Now the missionaries are detained, under arrest in Haiti, for kidnapping the children into the Dominican Republic and for criminal conspiracy.

Rumor suggests that the missionaries’ leader may have misled others in their group about their humanitarian mission and/or legal procedure. The leader is under investigation in the US in connection with other possible crimes. But she reportedly maintains that the children’s parents wanted to give their children a better life.

It does not appear that most of the missionaries were aware that it would be illegal to remove the childen from Haiti without proper legal authorization.

The Haitian court has three months to rule on this case. Kidnapping is punishable in Haiti by up to fifteen years’ imprisonment.