This nugget slipped through my fingers earlier this week. As far as I know, no one has picked up on the significance I think it has.

Haiti judge quizzes US missionaries over child case was published February 3, 2010 by the BBC. The article includes an interview with Hal Nungester, director of HIS Home for Children which underwent a babylift I wrote about earlier. (You need to see the video from the link above. The full length article that you click on at the bottom of the video has a greatly edited version that excludes Nungester as does the article.)

BBC: The director of this orphanage was contacted by the American missionaries but was suspicious.

Nungester: We’re very cautious about anything that could even appear like traffiicking–child trafficking–and it just smelled like child trafficking to me.

The same day CBS News correspondent Bill Whittaker also interviewed Nungester:

CBS News has learned the Americans contacted at least two orphanages in Port-au-Prince after the quake. The director of this one turned them away and warned what they were doing was wrong.

“They were looking for 100 orphans to take to the DR, the Dominican Republic,” Hal Nungester, with the H.I.S. Home for Children told CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker. “They had no paperwork. They had no authorization from the U.S. government, from the Haitian government, or from anyone involved. They were just taking kids. That fits right in with what I would classify as child trafficking.”

We have heard stories that the team went orphanage to orphanage looking for children to collect for their mismanaged, ill-thought social experiment, but unless I missed it, this is the first time I’ve seen an American orphanage director and fellow missionary come forward publicly with his suspicions. I’m sure the interviews were longer than this, and I’d love to see them.

Also note in the opening of the video, Laura Silsby, when asked if she believed she owed the government of Haiti an apology, she says, she doesn’t and goes on to say things are working out with God’s help. This was before the was were remanded back to the slammer.


I am currently working on two new blogs, but am stuck with some fact checking. I hope to have one or both up soon.


  1. After reading about her past legal woes and business flops, it seems that Silsby is only capable of “leading” major cluster-f****. What’s that old adage..”if it walks like a duck, etc., etc.?

  2. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/

    One sure consequence of disaster: adoption
    Siri Agrell
    Globe and Mail
    Saturday, Feb. 06

    When a group of American missionaries was arrested last weekend after smuggling 33 children out of Haiti, troubling questions began to arise about the impulse to whisk kids out of disaster zones. But trends in international adoption have always followed close on the heels of wars and humanitarian disasters, according to Queen’s University professor Karen Dubinsky, whose book Babies Without Borders: Adoption and the Symbolic Child in Canada, Cuba and Guatemala will be released this spring. The story is always the same, she says. The disaster produces interest in orphaned children, an adoption system is opened, scandals develop and the system closes down. Move to another location and repeat.

  3. http://www.dfwcatholic.org/catholic-service-agencies-serving-haitians-call-for-rigorous-safeguards-in-protecting-haitian-children7826/.html

    Catholic Service Agencies Serving Haitians Call For Rigorous Safeguards In Protecting Haitian Children
    February 6, 2010

    The letter outlined the following procedures to protect Haitian children:
    The establishment of safe havens in Haiti so children would have security and proper care;
    The assignment of child welfare experts to make best interest determinations for each child, including the best placements for children;
    Family tracing efforts so that children could be reunited with their parents and families;
    Placement in foster care with refugee benefits for those children whose best interest is served by relocation to the United States; and
    Expedited consular processing for U.S. citizens or permanent residents with minor children in Haiti, as well as for those with approved petitions for family reunification.

    The agency heads stressed that Haitian children who are not already matched with adoptive parents in the United States should only be brought to the United States after it is determined that it is in the interest of the child.

    “Family reunification is an important goal and must be protected to the greatest extent possible, while placement with a guardian within Haiti will sometimes prove to be the appropriate course,” they wrote. “If no family or appropriate guardian is found, and if it is further determined that it is in the child’s best interest not to remain in Haiti, the child should be considered for international placement.”

    The executives concluded that, in the long-term, reconstruction funds should include resources to the Government of Haiti to provide protection to unaccompanied children who remain in Haiti.

    For full text of the letter, use link

  4. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/02/06/INP11BRKGH.DTL

    Haiti child slavery needs to end
    Joel Brinkley
    Saturday, February 6, 2010

    Excerpts form the article:
    ” Last week, in fact, Haiti arrested 10 Americans and accused them of kidnapping and human trafficking. The police chief, Frantz Thermilus, angrily asserted: “What surprises me is that these people would never do something like this in their own country.”

    Well, Mr. Police Chief, what surprises me is that you sanction child slavery in your own country. In Haiti, even at the best of times, hundreds of thousands of children are enslaved each year – starved, abused, beaten and raped. And it’s perfectly legal.”

    ” Domestic servitude is a common problem around the world, even in the United States. Police prosecute a dozen or more of these malefactors each year. But these cases are episodic, even unusual. Even in less developed countries, like Thailand and India, where domestic servitude is common, it is still illegal, and at least occasionally perpetrators are prosecuted. Not so in Haiti. Even the U.S. State Department gives Haiti a pass because, it says, “Haiti has had a weak government” since 2004.

    ” The State Department’s annual human-trafficking report chastises and penalizes countries whose efforts to fight human trafficking are deemed insufficient. But Haiti is put to the side as a “special case,” along with Somalia, the world’s most dysfunctional nation, even though in no other country is child slavery known to be so commonplace. Still, the department wrote in its most recent report: “Haiti is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation.”

    The majority of the victims, it says, are up to “300,000 restaveks,” most of whom are “girls who are between 6 and 14 and work excessive hours, receive no schooling or payment and are often physically or sexually abused.” The police, it adds, “do not pursue restavek trafficking cases because there is no statutory penalty against the practice.”

    Of course most everyone in the world is watching with horror and sympathy as Haitians pull their dead from the rubble and try to reclaim their lives. The Haitians’ own shameful practices do not give others license to traffic Haiti’s children. But, if and when normal life returns, I hope the United States and other nations with influence in Haiti will push at last to end a barbaric practice that enslaves hundreds of thousands of children. How can they not? “

  5. Little Snowdrop, I thought that last Op-Ed you quoted is interesting…a lot of (white) people are using that argument as a basis of moral superiority. “We are the liberators, while the Haitians are the oppressors” is apparently the idea. Of course, the actual history of US invasions and economic strangulation of Haiti is not so stressed. That would mean the the US, and Americans (and other colonial powers) are heavily responsible for the incredibly dire economic situation of Haitians…and that would undermine the whole point of the argument, which is to make Americans feel good and Haitians look bad.

  6. I would add that the reality of restavec slavery and abuse in Haiti is no doubt horrific. I just don’t think that the US will end it.

  7. You mean like edging uncomfortably close to the views of Crazy Pat Robertson?

    Certainly, if America had recognized Haiti as an independent nation after the Revolution, the present situation, though still dire, would be very different. But because of its dependence on slavery, it didn’t. A free Haiti posed a threat to the stability of the Republic.
    The restavec system is very much, as you say, the legacy of colonial oppression.
    Doesn’t make it right though.


    Clinton brokers deal over Haiti orphan abductions

    ” A DIPLOMATIC deal over the 10 American missionaries jailed in Haiti on child abduction charges may lead to the release this week of all except the group’s leader, Laura Silsby, according to legal sources in Port-au-Prince.”

  8. Little Snowdrop, I agree, that doesn’t make it right. Maybe I was a bit too harsh in my judgement. The situation for children in Haiti was/is terrible and abusive, and returning to the status quo is not a solution, as the Op-Ed writer stated. I just look at the more recent history, with the US military removing Aristide and threatening anyone who would do something to lift up the Haitian people, and I see Bush and Bill Clinton taking control (Clinton is very close to sweatshop owners and other corporate interests), and I just don’t see good things happening.

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