Haiti Detains Missionaries for Child Trafficking

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Ten Baptist missionaries from the U.S. have been arrested in Haiti after attempting to transport 33 Haitian children across the border to a temporary shelter in the Dominican Republic.

The missionaries, who claim they were trying to help the children, admitted they did not have the proper paperwork. Now the group is waiting behind bars for a Monday hearing that will determine whether they will be tried on child trafficking charges.

"We came here simply to help these children and we went to the border based on the approval of the Dominican government to take the children into the Dominican Republic and the pastor entrusting these precious children to our care because his orphanage collapsed and his churches collapsed and he had nowhere for these children to go," said Laura Silsby, spokeswoman for the group.

Click play for more with Jesse Eaves of World Vision International, following Heather Sells' report.

But Jean-Max Bellerive, Haiti's prime minister, is denouncing the group's efforts.

"For me it's not Americans who've been arrested, it's kidnappers who have been arrested," Bellerive said.

The children, ages 2 months to 12-years-old, are now staying at Austrian-based orphanage SOS Children's Village. Authorities believe some are not orphans.

"We already know that some of these children still have parents because a girl, maybe 8 or 9 told us crying, 'I'm not an orphan. I do have my parents,'" said George Willeit, spokesman for the orphanage.

The United Nations said the Americans may have had good intentions -- but misguided execution.

"You can't just go and take a child out of a country, no matter what country you are in," said UNICEF spokesman Kent Page. "This is not what is done."

Since the earthquake, the Haitian government has halted all adoptions except those already in process. Its fear is rampant trafficking of children in the confusion and chaos surrounding the disaster.

Special Section:

Haiti Earthquake & Recovery

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CBN News
Heather Sells

Heather Sells

CBN News Reporter

Heather Sells covers a variety of issues for CBN News ranging from immigration and religious liberty to human trafficking, privacy issues and food.

Follow Heather on Twitter @SellsHeather and "like" her at Facebook.com/HeatherSellsCBNNews.