Helping Haiti or Hurting Haiti?

Although many of the facts are yet to come out of the alledged accusation of kidnapping when 10 Baptists attempted to cross the border into the Dominican Republic with a bus-full of Haitian orphans, I feel the need to respond.  Because I served as a mission in Haiti for three years, I have felt the pain of tragedy in a very vivid way.  That pain led me to want terribly to go down to Haiti and help in any way that I can.  Many across the US have also felt that urge.  Yet there comes a point where one must discern if they are the right person or group to do the helping.  And if they are not, even the best intentions cannot prevent a person or group from being a harm rather than a help.

In Haiti I experienced this first hand.  Many different groups would come down to visit every once in a while.  Some groups were well prepared for the trip, others were not.  For those of us who lived there as long-term missionaries, the groups that were most prepared were a wonderful help in our mission efforts.  The groups who were not well prepared created more work and emotional strain for us.  Ironically, people who are well prepared end up having a more positive experience; those who are not rarely want to go back again.  I wonder…after the Baptist group returns to Idaho, how many will desire to go back to Haiti?


At the very least it seems as though this group wandered into unfamiliar waters.  This is quite a shame, because while these people are being charged with a crime, the real human traffickers are hard at work.  Human trafficking is a global epidemic that strikes at almost any situation that reveals vulnerability.  Some people think that “trafficking” denotes transporting a person from one place to another, but it is that and much more.  In fact, for years there has been a socially acceptable practice in Haiti where poor families would sell their children to rich ones for the purposes of slave labor.  These children and people are called Restaveks.

I pray for a swift return of these Americans to their homes, and for these orphans to be cared for properly.  But more than that, I pray that those with evil intentions upon these vulnerable people will see their efforts thwarted.



3 thoughts on “Helping Haiti or Hurting Haiti?

  1. I do think that the group from Idaho was definitely out of line — trafficking is trafficking, whether for mal-intent or good. They did not respect the process that is there to keep families together and keep nations whole. Impoverished communities don’t exist so that good-intended missionaries (or anyone else) can feel better about themselves and grow their families, too — and this is exactly what communities often feel, rightly so, because of actions like those taken by this group.

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