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Haiti- New Charge brought against Laura Silsby, “organization of irregular trips”

(Blog housekeeping note- Doing multiple posts today, please read down through my previous post as well.)

An important new development out of Haiti today, Laura Silsby, “Executive Director and Founder” of New Life Chidren’s Refuge and its botched “Haiti Orphan Rescue Plan” (link opens a PDF) is facing an additional charge tonight.

She is already facing kidnapping and criminal-association charges stemming from the New Lifers’ January 29th attempted child export trip that ended in ten members of the team being arrested. (At least seven other team members were on the Dominican Republic side of the border at the time of the arrests.)

Judge Bernard Saint-Vil has added a new charge of “organization of irregular trips.”

As explained in this article, Haiti judge: New charge for US missionary leader:

Saint-Vil has added the new charge of “organization of irregular trips,” from a 1980 law restricting travel out of Haiti that was signed by then-dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier.

The judge said Friday he has until early May to decide whether to release Silsby or order a trial.

The new charge stems from the trip the 10 missionary scavengers made 3 days before, on January 26th.

Assumedly this would pertain to the bus trip with 40 kids that a Haitian police officer put a stop to, telling them what they were doing was illegal, and that they could not go about it that way before offering to help them.

Importantly ten missionaries were on the bus at the time the officer stopped them and told them their child export attempt was illegal.

Whether or not those were the same ten who were then arrested three days later, or merely a subset of that group filled out by others who were on the Dominican Republic side of the border at the time of final fateful trip and arrests is unknown. But in light of the incident with the police officer on the 26th, to later claim they were unaware they didn’t have the appropriate paperwork certainly rings hollow.

I wrote about that trip on February 9th, in my post Thwarted by a police officer in an earlier attempt 3 days before their arrests to export 40 *Other* kids- more on Silsby and the Scavengers. The post and my comments contain links to the initial reporting I was able to find on that previous child procurement trip the New Lifers’ made in to Haiti.

This is why I have repeatedly referred to the child victims of the New Lifers’ child trafficking attempts as at least “73” not merely the 33 from the attempted trip on the 29th.

To date we know of at least two attempts by the New Lifers at child trafficking. It is unclear as to whether or not there were any other additional or previous attempts.

What we can piece together by way of a very bare bones sketch with just a few details added begins to look like this:

  • January 12 was the earthquake
  • January 22, we have this report telling the story of the children on the New Lifers’ final bus trip and their families from Calebasse (a rare bit of useful reporting from the otherwise tabloid rag, the Daily Mail UK.) The piece includes a number of details pertaining to the New Lifers trip to Calebasse marketing their “orphanage” and attempting to collect kids:

…”ten days later when the U.S. Baptists arrived at Calebasse and began knocking on doors. They handed out flyers saying they wanted to ‘help children who have lost their mother and father in the earthquake or have no one to love and care for them’. The flyers said, inaccurately, that the group had the Haitian government’s permission to take 100 children abroad to the Dominican Republic, which shares a border with Haiti.”

  • January 26th, was the foiled attempt to move the busload of 40 kids out of Haiti from which, assumedly the latest charge stems
  • January 29th, (a week after marketing in Calebasse) the final attempt to take the Calebasse kids out of Haiti, which eventually results in the arrests of the ten missionary scavengers.

Clearly the New Lifers were in Haiti as early as the 22nd, the question remains whether they only attempted two trips, or whether there were other trips or attempts in that week that have yet to come to light.

The article pertaining to the new charge describes the trip on the 26th as a:

newly discovered, alleged attempt

Despite the fact that the articles I found at the time mentioned the officer who stopped their bus on the 26th and got the 40 children out MAY HAVE already been questioned by the court in relation to the incident (although it is unclear, the two articles I was able to find here and here, may be speaking of separate officers. If so, the New Lifers would have had multiple Haitian officers trying to help them export the kids. As I have been trying to piece this together from secondary sources, I am unfortunately unable to clarify that point.)

Perhaps by “newly discovered” they mean by Judge Saint-Vil, as the CNN piece refers to:

The Americans, who were interviewed Wednesday by Judge Isai Jean Louis, are to appear Thursday before the attorney general, who is handling the case, lawyer Edwin Coq said.

(Coq is no longer representing the missionaries, it is unclear the extent to which information did or did not travel between the two Judges as the case moved along.)

All we can hope is that a case is being carefully constructed and that the additional jail time will provide additional time for further details to come to light and some clarifications.

In the time it’s taken me to write this, Marley, on her Daily Bastardette blog has a new post up about the charges with a very interesting comment thread with links for further reading.

Return to the Table of Contents of my Haiti series.

One Response to “Haiti- New Charge brought against Laura Silsby, “organization of irregular trips””

  1. Baby Love Child » Introduction to the Haiti series- “It is madness. It is insane…” Bribes, Bullies, and Traffickers extract kids Says:

    […] Haiti- New Charge brought against Laura Silsby, “organization of irregular trips” […]

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