This story coming out of Haiti these past few days is troubling. And it has nothing to do with the earthquake. At least not directly. The story I am talking about is the one about the A-merry-cans from potato country being accused of human trafficking.
It's troubling because I initially felt that if these people were really trying to help these poor children and got caught up in something that they had no control over, it would be unfair to them. No one thinks it's cool to punish good people for a mistake.
This is how I started out feeling. But then I started reading more about the story and I learned the following:
" PORT-AU-PRINCE - The leader of a group of American missionaries charged Thursday with kidnapping for trying to take 33 children out of earthquake-ravaged Haiti faces legal troubles in her home state of Idaho as well.
Laura Silsby, 40, is the subject of several lawsuits accusing her and her Boise-based company, PersonalShopper.com, of failing to pay her employees. She also has a history of failing to pay debts, and the $358,000 house at which she founded her nonprofit religious group, New Life Children's Refuge, was foreclosed upon in December, according to a report in her hometown newspaper, the Idaho Statesman.
The Boise newspaper said Silsby has been named in at least eight civil lawsuits and 14 unpaid wage claims. "
That's Ms. Silsby looking like she is in a line dance with the Haitian policeman. Now I am thinking that the Haitian authorities might have had their ducks in a row after all. Apparently this is a real problem (child trafficking) and it has the Haitian authorities and world relief agencies concerned. An earthquake and subsequent total devastation of a country should not be an excuse to break its laws. Just as the looting of property and lawlessness should not be tolerated, neither should the looting of the countries most precious resource; its children. If Ms. Silsby and company were trying to pull a fast one, shame on them. Trying to profit from tragedy is never cool.
"On Thursday, she and nine other Americans appeared in a Haitian court, following their arrest on Jan. 29 for allegedly trying to cross into the Dominican Republic with a busload of Haitian children they said were orphaned by the quake. A prosecutor forwarded their case to a judge to determine their fate.
Silsby said at the hearing: "We simply wanted to help the children. We petition the court not only for our freedom but also for our ability to continue to help."'