Support efforts to protect Haitian children from trafficking during the earthquake crisis
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Safe Horizon applauds efforts of humanitarian aid agencies, governments, international organizations, and local actors as they continue to work to rebuild Haiti after the devastating earthquake of 12 January 2010 that killed 230,000 people and left more than 1 million homeless.
This horrific tragedy has enormously weakened the stability of one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere. The Anti-Trafficking Program at Safe Horizon is particularly concerned that already vulnerable populations, particularly children, are now at increased risk of becoming trafficked. Separated children are at high risk of becoming trafficked, sexually exploited, or suffering other serious forms of physical and emotional abuse.
In Haiti's current chaotic environment, one of the most effective ways to curtail the risk of trafficking and further trauma to Haitian children is to prioritize family re-unification efforts.
Safe Horizon acknowledges that unregulated adoptions, especially international adoptions, make children especially vulnerable to exploitation. We are pleased that the US government is strictly regulating adoptions of Haitian children by US citizens, authorizing only those adoptions approved by the Haitian government prior to January 12th.
By focusing energy and funds into building safe environments for separated children in Haiti, children will have the opportunity to benefit from medical services and schooling while efforts are made to reunify them with their families.
Safe Horizon encourages concerned citizens to continue to support Haiti and efforts to rebuild a crucial protection infrastructure for children and other vulnerable populations there, and to support organizations that are working diligently to reunite families and establish long-term support for their care. Successful aid efforts aimed at rebuilding critical protection infrastructure and reducing poverty can reduce the risk for trafficking now and in the future.
To learn more about efforts to prevent trafficking of children and adults here in the United States, please visit read about our Anti-Trafficking Program at www.safehorizon.org/trafficking.
 Knowlton, Brian and Zeleny, Jeff. "Obama Pledges U.S. Aid to Haiti", New York Times. March 10, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/11/world/americas/11prexy.html?nl=us&emc=politicsemailema1
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