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Thread: Haitian children in the DR

  1. #1
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    Dec 2003
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    Default Haitian children in the DR

    Haitian children turn to begging in DR after quake
    By EZEQUIEL ABIU LOPEZ and JONATHAN M. KATZ (AP) * 9 august, 2010

    SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic From the white-sand beaches at the edge
    of all-inclusive resorts to the gritty streets of the capital, more Haitian
    children are begging on the streets of the Dominican Republic a sign that
    the economic gulf between the neighboring nations has grown wider since the
    Jan. 12 earthquake.

    Haitian children, some believed to be brought by traffickers, roam the fruit
    stands and dangerous medians, collecting pesos from passers-by as they dart
    through smoggy traffic. No one knows how many, but their presence has grown
    by the dozens over the past six months, aid groups say.

    "They are vulnerable to all kinds of dangers in the streets," said Maria
    Elena Asaud, a UNICEF child-protection expert in the Dominican Republic.

    Those dangers include being abused, forced into prostitution and exploited
    by traffickers for their begging wages.

    The Jan. 12 earthquake killed an estimated 300,000 people and displaced more
    than 2 million more. Many of those who survived fled to the countryside or
    tent encampments around the capital, but the nearby Dominican Republic has
    always been a powerful economic lure.

    While Haiti was ripped apart by political upheaval over the past three
    decades, the Dominican Republic opened its shores to tourists and its
    finances to Washington-based multilateral institutions.

    Haitians for decades have sought opportunity working on the streets, sugar
    plantations and tourist resorts of the Dominican Republic, risking
    discrimination and sometimes violence.

    An estimated 9,000 Haitians have migrated across the border since the
    earthquake, increasing the Haitian-born population by 15 percent to an
    estimated 600,000, said Sigfrido Pared, the country's immigration director.

    On a busy median in the capital, three Haitian brothers Luigi, Wilchy and
    Aldry smiled to passers-by and stuck out their hands asking for a few
    pesos. They sometimes run into traffic to look for change from the open
    windows of stopped cars, the drivers blaring Latin rhythms of bachata and

    The boys did not give their last name and were reluctant to tell strangers
    about their lives.

    Luigi, who gave his age as 7, said they came from Port-au-Prince after the
    earthquake destroyed their home and killed their father. They crossed the
    porous border with their mother as she found work selling avocados.

    When AP journalists visited them over several days, they sometimes looked
    clean and well cared-for, other times filthy from the tops of their heads to
    their plastic sandals.

    "I want to go back to Haiti, so I can go to school," Luigi said.

    Those working in the north-coast beach areas can earn nearly $14 per day
    among the tourists nearly three times Haiti's minimum wage.

    Those areas were also cited as hotspots of child prostitution and sex
    tourism in a 2010 U.S. State Department report on human trafficking. A local
    group called the Coalition for Children found a third of the 53 child
    beggars it interviewed this year in the country's center and north are taken
    to the streets by alleged child traffickers.

    "It's so terrible: The kids sleep on the streets, take showers on the
    street, take drugs," said Maria Josefina Paulino, director of International
    Self-Development Solidarity, which runs programs to keep children from

    The children are likely bought or traded along the countries' lawless
    border, where contraband and drugs flow easily over unguarded desert, said
    Davide Sala, a migrants-rights advocate with the Jesuit Refugee and
    Migration Service.

    The Dominican National Childhood Council established a program after the
    quake to remove children from the streets. So far, it has taken in 102
    minors and returned half to their families in Haiti. The rest are in
    shelters as authorities try to locate relatives, said manager Angel Luis

    Haiti and the Dominican Republic each with just under 10 million people
    share Hispaniola, an island divided in colonial times by the Spanish and
    French empires. Both imported African slaves and kept them under some of the
    most brutal conditions in the hemisphere. An independent Haiti invaded the
    Spanish-speaking side of the island in 1822 and occupied it for 22 years.

    Dominican leaders have fostered anti-Haitian sentiment to consolidate their
    control, contributing to decades of violence and discrimination against
    Haitians. Even Dominican-born people of Haitian descent are barred from
    gaining citizenship.

    But the quake devastation prompted an unprecedented level of good will
    toward their poorer neighbor: For a time, the Dominican Republic was the
    staging ground for much of the aid pouring into Haiti. Dominican President
    Leonel Fernandez made his first visit next door in half a decade.

    Those warm feelings could diminish as Dominicans see Haitians they deem
    "ungrateful" for their aid stream into their country, Sala said.

    "There was a feeling that the help given to Haiti (after the earthquake) was
    supposed to erase the past," he said.

    The high visibility of the children on the street could exacerbate tensions
    among those who feel relations have gotten too cozy over the past few
    months, he added.

    In Santo Domingo, children both Dominican and Haitian are also employed
    as street vendors, shoe shiners, prostitutes and drug dealers.

    In Santiago, some of the children clean windshields, shine shoes or work on
    farms but most just beg, said Cynthia Lora, whose group, Street Action, is
    trying to start a program that will allow some of them to attend school. The
    kids who ask for money in the streets often get some, she said.

    "For now, after the quake, people in Santiago are sensitive" to the plight
    of victims, Lora said. "They aren't really conscious of the fact that these
    kids are victims of trafficking or exploitation."

    Ezequiel Abiu Lopez reported from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and
    Jonathan M. Katz reported from Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2002
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    Quote : Dominican leaders have fostered anti-Haitian sentiment to consolidate their
    control, contributing to decades of violence and discrimination against
    Haitians. Even Dominican-born people of Haitian descent are barred from
    gaining citizenship" end Quote

    Is it discrimination to not want illegals from taking your jobs, increasing the crime rate, and over-running your country? Only Dominican born Haitians whose parents are in the country illegally are barried from gaining citizenship. Are Haitians subject to more violence that they would receive in their own country?

  3. #3
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    Jul 2007
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    This is certainly a relevant and important topic - however the DR's reputation in the rest of the world precedes itself, ie the reporters don't do justice to the actual amount of real effort and concern many Dominicans have displayed.

  4. #4
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    Nov 2006
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  5. #5


    What a big problem these people have been to us, Dominicans. For the last 200 years that is what these people have been to Dominicans, "A big pain in the ass". All they represent to us is a big problem, "A sand pebble in the eye"

    How long will the Dominican Government allow this to happen to our country and to our people? How long will Dominicans put up with this?
    Do the Dominicans poor need more poor of the poorest to come to our land to depress even further our already depressed salaries that a poor man in the barrios could not support his family and live as a normal family?

    When are DOMNINICAN MEN going to stop this?? ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! WE ARE A POOR NATION we are not responsible for Haitian irresponsibility and lack of smart of bringing 1/2 dozen babies they can not afford.

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH estamos jartos hasta la garganta de esa gente and their mercenaries "the NGOS".

  6. #6
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    Feb 2010
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    Personally I haven't noticed much of an increase in the beggers, always been there, doesn't seem to be many more than before. I see the odd lost kid walking around trying to move in on others territory for cleaning shoes, but I have nothing but sympathy for these children, out there alone at 8 and 9 year old. To take an attitude with people genuinely seeking some sort of asylum after such a tragedy just shows a shallow and pathetic amount of honour and respect. Honour for yourself and respect for others. I agree people who are caught illegally before this disaster should be taken back and made to attempt the correct channels, but at this moment that is not possible.

    Overall I have not felt the extra presence of Haitians in the capital.

  7. #7
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    Nov 2008
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    let me see....Mexico U.S.
    Haiti D.R.

    Yes same topic

    A good point came to me that the US tried to make the DR give birth certificates to Haitians born in DR, now some states want to do the same to the Mexicans coming to the US to give birth.

    ONLY legal aliens should be given this right, we should do what the famous song says....."hit the road Jack, No more No more No more No more"


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