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|Sujet: Congress Told of Exploitation, Trafficking of Impoverished Haitian Children Mer 20 Mai 2009 - 14:25|| |
Congress Told of Exploitation, Trafficking of Impoverished Haitian Children
WASHINGTON, May 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hundreds of thousands of Haitian children are the victims of exploitation and trafficking and it is within Congress' reach to change their lives, the Pan American Development Foundation's (PADF) Goodwill Ambassador for Haiti Jimmy Jean-Louis said.
"Extreme poverty just two hours from the United States has created a horrible life for these kids, some who are as young as 5 years old," says Jimmy Jean-Louis, the actor known as "The Haitian" on NBC's hit series "Heroes." "We're condemning a large segment of an entire generation of children who are part of Haiti's future to a life of misery. We can create a better future for these children."
Today's meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus highlighted the need for more U.S. funding to support shelters that house children who have been the victims of exploitation and trafficking. PADF links the problem of trafficking and exploitation directly to the Haitian economy. Haiti is the most impoverished country in the Western Hemisphere.
To help out, PADF launched an inspirational U.S. campaign called "I Too Am Haiti" to raise awareness about the victims of trafficking, forced labor and other forms of exploitation. People may call (877) 572-6544, visit www.ITooAmHaiti.org or its Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/pages/I-Too-Am-Haiti/68546496607 to learn more.
The U.S. State Department reported in 2008 that: "Haiti is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation." The State Department estimates that as many as 200,000 children are the victims of trafficking, which is one type of exploitation that PADF works on.
PADF Deputy Executive Director Amy Coughenour said that extremely poor parents often give up their children thinking they will have a better life in another family's home. "Unfortunately, sometimes unscrupulous adults force children to work, become prostitutes or get involved in gangs," she says. "Some kids may end up in different countries."
PADF has one of the largest human rights protection programs in Haiti, which include supporting 50 shelters that provide a safe haven for exploited children, advocacy on their behalf and training of community groups to identify abused children.
About the Campaign: The I Too Am Haiti campaign was created pro-bono by San Antonio-based multicultural advocacy agency Interlex.
PADF is one of the largest non-governmental organizations in Haiti. With nearly three decades of work on the ground, PADF now manages a large portfolio of activities ranging from community-driven development to protecting human rights. In the past year, it helped nearly 1 million Haitians.
PADF is a non-profit organization established in 1962 to promote, facilitate, and implement social and economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean. In the past year, it had more than 4.5 million beneficiaries in 18 countries. Its headquarters is in Washington, D.C., and has field offices in Colombia, the Dominican Republic and elsewhere. www.padf.org