International Ministries

Lauran Bethell’s Thoughts on Homeless Children and Trafficking in Haiti

February 7, 2010 Journal
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Dear Friends,

My heart has been broken watching the scenes of devastation in this country that has already suffered so much.  Because of my heightened awareness of issues of human trafficking, I immediately prayed for the children who would be vulnerable.  I continue to hope that they will be Divinely protected from those who would intentionally seek to lure them off the streets and from tent cities into slave labor and the sex industry. 

But I also have prayed that wisdom would prevail, and that those who have been in the process of adopting children who were orphaned before the earthquake, whose applications and home studies had already been approved, would have their paper-work expedited.  It seems that this has been the case. 

While watching news reports, I have to confess to having thoughts of wanting to scoop up the lost and lonely children and bring them home.  I know, however, that is not the answer.  However well-intentioned, any group of people who try to intervene to move children from their community are creating infinitely more problems than they are solving.  Not only are they breaking national and international laws, they are also creating issues for law enforcement, for embassy staff, for media—which should be spending their time focused on short-term relief and long-term development.  And in many cases, given time and in some instances, supplementary resources, extended family members and other people in the community will step up and care for the children as their own.  This is usually the best option.

I have closely followed American Baptist International Ministries’ reports about our immediate response to the disaster:  IM missionaries, volunteers, our Haitian and Dominican partners, the Rescue24 team from Hungarian Baptist Aid—all are working with the greatest of technical and cultural expertise, offering rescue and care in Christ’s name.  Everyone should be proud of these amazing teams and their ministries.  And YOU have played your part, by generously contributing to their efforts.  You have wisely chosen to give to an endeavor which will touch and heal the most possible lives. 

From my own experiences over the past 20+ years of working with some of the most powerful governmental and non-profit organizations, what I know for sure is that funds given through church-based, grass-roots organizations will be the most likely to reach the people affected by disaster and poverty.  IM ranks among the best of these.  Our relationships with the Haitian people and churches are deep and long-standing.  If you haven’t contributed yet, please consider doing so.  The potential for truly “new things” coming out of catastrophe in Haiti is huge.  Our Haitian friends and partners are counting on our help.  Let’s join with them in building a new future.  For the children….

Lauran Bethell
IM Global Consultant
Abolishing Human Trafficking
Currently living in the Netherlands