Smuggling children from Haiti to Dominican Republic
Military authorities continue to highlight the issue of increased smuggling of children from Haiti over the past four months. As reported, an estimated 5,000 undocumented persons, including 607 children and newborns have been detained at the border crossings. Many of the children are crossing the border without the company of their parents. The military is investigating a suspected network of smugglers that is behind the increase in the number of children crossing the border illegally. Most of the illegal crossings are in the border area of Dajabon. The increase in smuggling is of grave concern to the military and human rights activists who serve in the area.
As reported on Wednesday, 21 July 2016 alone, members of the S-2 of the Dominican Army intercepted 74 Haitians clandestinely crossing the border. Of the total, 24 are women, 13 men and 37 children. The detentions took place at the military post of Las Matas de Santa Cruz, Santa Maria and Copey.
The detainees were believed to be headed to Santiago, Mao, Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo.
The executive director of Solidaridad Fronteriza, Benigno Toribio, expressed his concern for the increase in trafficking of Haitian children. He said the situation was discussed yesterday at the meeting of Redes de Proteccion de la Ninez, a network of organizations that work to protect children. Toribio said the recent increase in the number of children wandering the streets in Dajabon is evidence of this unfortunate social crisis effecting scores of defenseless children.
Major General Jose Eugenio Matos de la Cruz, chief of the Army, said that security agencies are investigating the suspected network that traffics children from Haiti to the Dominican Republic. The children arrive at the border in pick-up trucks, buses, motorcycles, horses and mules.
The Army announced on Thursday it would increase efforts to reduce smuggling of children. Puro de la Cruz, spokesman for the Army said that when a person is suspected of trafficking children they are immediately detained and sent to the judiciary for processing. The authorities lament that that many times the human traffickers are taken in to custody, but because of loop holes in the justice system, many of those suspected of human trafficking are promptly released. Many of those released quickly get back to the nefarious task of endangering the safety of innocent people.
The detentions of undocumented individuals who cross the border illegally occur at many check points in communities throughout the northwest Dominican Republic, including La Vigia, Canongo, Sanche, Los Cayucos, La Aviacion, La Bomba, Esperanza, Guayubin, Santiago de la Cruz, Las Caobas, Copey, El Puente, Hatillo Palma, Jicome, Manzanillo, El Guanal, Botoncillo, Los Miches, in the provinces of Dajabón, Montecristi, Santiago Rodriguez and Valverde.
The president of the Commission of Human Rights of Santiago and the Northern Region, Dionisio Jerez expressed his concern and called for the authorities in Haiti and the Dominican Republic to work together to end this practice. He said when children are smuggled, they are vulnerable to all sorts of abuses. He said the situation is criminal.
Listin Diario reported an increase of women and children begging on Santiago city intersections and in public spaces is further evidence of the increase in the smuggling of people over the border.
Source: DR!, DiarioLibre
July 22, 2016
Category: DR News |