Haiti puts brakes on orphan flights

Jan. 27, 2010 at 11:09 AM
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Haiti's government is putting the brakes on large-scale migration of orphans fearing they may fall victim to human traffickers, the prime minister says.

Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive says he has issued an order that children cannot be released for adoption without his personal approval, the Miami Herald reported Wednesday.

Bellerive told the Herald he has also ordered non-governmental organizations working in Port-au-Prince to stop picking up children found alone on the street.

He said the government fears that orphaned children may be collected for prostitution or slavery.

As Bellerive's order was taking effect, U.S. Embassy officials in Haiti scrambled to move as many orphaned children to the United States as possible.

A U.S. military cargo plane flew some 50 Haitian orphans to Sanford, Fla., near Orlando Monday after word surfaced that such flights were being suspended.

Meanwhile, Canadian Minister for State for the Americas Peter Kent told an Ottawa news conference Wednesday a flight carrying 52 Haitian orphans was due to arrive in hours. Most of the children were destined for homes in Quebec, where French is widely spoken.

The first group of 24 orphans arrived in Canada during the weekend.

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