Things are looking worse for the Baptist group based in Idaho which tried to abscond with some Haitian refugee children. The BBC now reports that not all the children’s parents are “missing” (WebCite cached article):

Haiti ‘orphans’ found with Americans may have parents

The Americans said the youngsters had all lost their parents in the quake.

But George Willeit, a spokesman in Port-au-Prince for SOS Children’s Villages, which is now looking after the children, says at least one of them, a little girl, said her parents were alive.

The children also apparently hadn’t been cared for very well, while the Baptists were trying to shuffle them out of Haiti:

Mr Willeit said many of the children had been found to be in poor health, hungry and dehydrated.

One of the smallest — just two or three months old — was so dehydrated she had to be taken to hospital, he added.

Haitian officials appear not to be taking this situation lightly:

“This is an abduction, not an adoption,” Haitian Social Affairs Minister Yves Christallin told AFP news agency.

The Baptist group is still in denial over this, claiming to have done nothing wrong:

The leader of the Idaho-based group, Laura Silsby, said the arrests were the result of a mistake.

“Our understanding was that we were told by a number of people, including Dominican authorities, that we would be able to bring the children across,” she said.

“The mistake we made is that we didn’t understand there was additional paperwork required.”

But as the BBC explains, it wasn’t even as simple as having missed a little bit of “additional paperwork”:

But the BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, in Port-au-Prince, says the regulations are very clear — each case of child adoption must be approved by the government.

Even before the earthquake, he adds, child-smuggling was a massive problem in Haiti, with thousands of children disappearing each year.

Rules to prevent child-smuggling predated the earthquake, then, so anyone attempting to remove children from Haiti has no excuse for not knowing that government permission was required. As for their claim that the Dominican Republic approved their operation … I wasn’t aware that the D.R.’s government had any authority to decide whether Haitian children could leave their country. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see where that authority exists. Maybe the Baptists are aware of some rule to this effect, that I never heard of.

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