Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lincoln and Slavery

But the president resisted. In Lincoln’s view, the end of slavery was not a matter of if; it was a question of when, and how. Long before he became a national figure, he had predicted that the time would come when all Americans would be forced to choose sides over slavery, and he knew which side he would be on. Slavery was “a great and crying injustice,” he said, “an enormous national crime.” To one friend he said simply: “Slavery is doomed.” On another occasion he said: “I am naturally anti-slavery. If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I can not remember when I did not so think, and feel.” Even so, he perceived a clear impediment: “And yet I have never understood that the Presidency conferred upon me an unrestricted right to act officially upon this judgment and feeling.”

Drehle, David Von (2012-10-30). Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America's Most Perilous Year

Friday, December 28, 2012

Haiti's General Hospital is Still Very Sick

The General Hospital in Port-au-Prince is still broken.  And so the patients remain broken. The political will is just not there to fix it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Medical Repatriation

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and the Center for Social Justice at Seton Hall University School of Law Release Report Documenting Hundreds of Cases of Coerced Medical Repatriation of Undocumented Immigrants by U.S. Hospitals
Medical repatriations of undocumented immigrants likely to rise as result of federal funding reductions to safety net hospitals under Affordable Care Act

New York, NY, and Newark, New Jersey, December 17, 2012 − Today, the Center for Social Justice (CSJ) at Seton Hall University School of Law and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) released a report documenting an alarming number of cases in which U.S. hospitals have forcibly repatriated vulnerable undocumented patients, who are ineligible for public insurance as a result of their immigration status, in an effort to cut costs. This practice is inherently risky and often results in significant deterioration of a patient’s health, or even death.  The report asserts that such actions are in violation of basic human rights, in particular the right to due process and the right to life.

According to the report, the U.S. is responsible for this situation by failing to appropriately reform immigration and health care laws and protect those within its borders from human rights abuses. The report argues that medical deportations will likely increase as safety net hospitals, which provide the majority of care to undocumented and un- or underinsured patients, encounter tremendous financial pressure resulting from dramatic funding cutbacks under the Affordable Care Act.

The report cites more than 800 cases of attempted or actual medical deportations across the country in recent years, including: a nineteen-year-old girl who died shortly after being wheeled out of a hospital back entrance typically used for garbage disposal and transferred to Mexico; a car accident victim who died shortly after being left on the tarmac at an airport in Guatemala; and a young man with catastrophic brain injury who remains bed-ridden and suffering from constant seizures after being forcibly deported to his elderly mother’s hilltop home in Guatemala.

According to Lori A. Nessel, a Professor at Seton Hall University School of Law and Director of the School’s Center for Social Justice, “When immigrants are in need of ongoing medical care, they find themselves at the crossroads of two systems that are in dire need of reform—health care and immigration law. Aside from emergency care, hospitals are not reimbursed by the government for providing ongoing treatment for uninsured immigrant patients.  Therefore, many hospitals are engaging in de facto deportations of immigrant patients without any governmental oversight or accountability.  This type of situation is ripe for abuse.”
“Any efforts at comprehensive immigration reform must take into account the reality that there are millions of immigrants with long-standing ties to this country who are not eligible for health insurance.  Because health reform has excluded these immigrants from its reach, they remain uninsured and at a heightened risk of medical deportation,” added Shena Elrington, Director of the Health Justice Program at NYLPI. “Absent legislative or regulatory change, the number of forced or coerced medical repatriations is likely to grow as hospitals face mounting financial pressures and reduced Charity Care and federal contributions.”

Rachel Lopez, an Assistant Clinical Professor with CSJ stated, “The U.S. is bound to protect immigrants’ rights to due process under both international law and the U.S. Constitution.  Hospitals are becoming immigration agents and taking matters into their own hands.  It is incumbent on the government to stop the disturbing practice of medical deportation and to ensure that all persons within the country are treated with basic dignity.” 
More information about this issue can be found at, a NYLPI- and CSJ-run website that monitors news and advocacy developments on the topic of medical deportation.

About New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) advances equality and civil rights, with a focus on health justice, disability rights and environmental justice, through the power of community lawyering and partnerships with the private bar. Through community lawyering, NYLPI puts its legal, policy and community organizing expertise at the service of New York City communities and individuals.

About the Center for Social Justice at Seton Hall University School of Law
The Center for Social Justice (CSJ) is one of the nation’s strongest pro bono and clinical programs, empowering students to gain critical, hands-on experience by providing pro bono legal services for economically disadvantaged residents in the region. The cases on which students work span the range from the local to global. Providing educational equity for urban students, litigating on behalf of the victims of real estate fraud, protecting the human rights of immigrants, and obtaining asylum for those fleeing persecution are just some of the issues that CSJ faculty and students team up to address.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Haitian Attorney Mario Joseph (Posted by Roger Annis)

Presentation by Nicole Phillips of the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, of the College of Arts and Sciences, University of San Francisco, to Maître (Attorney) Mario Joseph on December 14, 2012.  Phillips is assistant director for Haiti programs and adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, and staff attorney with the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH).

This October, Amnesty International issued an urgent action alert in defense of today’s honoree, Mr. Mario Joseph, Haiti’s most prominent human rights attorney. Mr. Joseph has been subjected to an escalating series of death threats, harassment and intimidation for his tireless work to seek justice for the victims of the Duvalier dictatorship, shelter for the victims of government enforced evictions who were made homeless after thecatastrophic 2010 earthquake and to hold parties accountable for the ongoing cholera epidemic the United Nations troops allegedly brought to Haiti after the earthquake.  Because of his daily and heroic struggles on their behalf, it is no surprise Mr. Joseph’s clients proudly and affectionately refer to him as “met pa nou,” or “our lawyer.” 

The importance of the University’s support of Mr. Joseph must not be underestimated. Since 2006, the School ofLaw’s Center for Law and Global Justice has worked with Mr. Joseph and the Institute for Justice and Democracy to nurture human rights and the rule of law in Haiti. Moreover, the University’s conferral of an honorary doctorate to the late human rights activist Father Gerard Jean-Juste, Mr. Joseph’s client and friend, was instrumental in ending government harassment of Fr. Jean-Juste before his death.

For the last sixteen years, Mario Joseph has led the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux in Port-au-Prince as its managing attorney, representing political prisoners and victims of political violence. He is committed to makingHaiti’s justice system work for all of Haiti’s citizens. He believes a fair and equitable justice system is essential to the effective, non-violent resolution of societal conflicts that are too often marred by corruption and violence in Haiti.  

Every day, Mr. Joseph risks his life knowing that his work is dangerous, but he refuses to abandon his commitment to the defense of human rights, repairing the flawed justice system and ending the pervasive corruption in Haiti.  Most importantly, he refuses to abandon his commitment to his fellow citizens.  He continues to represent political prisoners and dissidents and to speak out against repression even though many of his friends, colleagues and clients have been jailed or killed.

The awarding of this honorary degree recognizes Mr. Joseph as a fearless and resolute defender of human rights and calls urgent and immediate attention to the human rights abuses in Haiti. The University does, therefore, proudly confer upon Mario Joseph, the degree of Doctor of Humane letters, honoris causa, with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereunto, given this 14th day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand and twelve, and of the University, the hundred and fifty-seventh, in San Francisco, California.

Change the world from where you live

Speech by Maître (Attorney) Mario Joseph of Haiti to the winter graduation class of the College of Arts and Sciences, University of San Francisco on December 14, 2012. At the ceremony, Maître Joseph received the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, from the University.

First I would like to say bonjou (greetings) and mesi (thank you) to Father Privett for the honor of this prestigious award. I would also like to say bonjou and mesi to Dean of Law Jeffrey Brand, Professor Dolores Donovan, and Assistant Dean Erin Dolly.

Bonjou to all the other distinguished faculty here.

To the graduates of the University of San Francisco College of Arts and Sciences class of 2012, bonjou, and congratulations. And last but not least, a big bonjou and a chapo ba–a tip of the hat--to all the parents, siblings, relatives and friends of the members of the class of 2012 .

In my country, we have a saying: men anpil chay pa lou: many hands make the load light. We know that it takes many hands to carry the load of building a road, a house, a school. But it also takes men anpil- many hands—to create a graduate of the University of San Francisco. So while we are celebrating the hard work, accomplishment, intelligence and promise of today’s graduates, let us take a minute to thank those who helped them get here. Chapo ba, again.

In my country, we have a lot of other sayings, but Father Privett has given me only 12 minutes. So I will get to the point. It is a great honor, for which I am deeply grateful, to have been invited to share this special day with you. Where I grew up, in a village in VerrettesHaiti, drinking water from an irrigation ditch, doing homework by candlelight, few of us even dreamed of graduating from high school. Most of us never even learned to read. To be someday honored by the graduates of a University as esteemed and historic as the University of San Francisco was beyond incomprehensible.

If I could not have imagined reaching out from Haiti to San Francisco, the University of San Francisco could imagine reaching out to Haiti, and it did it. USF law students and faculty have for seven years brought their education, their skills and their enthusiasm to the fight for human rights in Haiti, working from here in Californiaand in Haiti. In 2006, USF granted my client, Fatherr Gérard Jean-Juste, an honorary degree. Granting that degree was not only a generous act to honor the man considered by many the Martin Luther King of my country. It was also a courageous and concretely productive act that helped keep Father Gerry out of Haiti’s political prisons at a time when his speaking out for Haiti’s poor made him unpopular with governments in my country and in yours, and with some leaders of the Catholic Church.

Although life in Haiti has not always provided me with safety, stability, or electricity, it has provided some interesting perspectives on your mantra, Change the World from Here, that I would like to share with you. To start, it is worth asking “why change the world?” I will give you three reasons.

The first reason for why change the world is “because you can.” From some perspectives, you might be inexperienced young people, greatly in debt with school loans, thrown out into an uncertain and challenging economy. But from the perspective of a kid from a small town in Haiti, you are the privileged possessors of an education beyond the wildest dreams of most of the world. It is an education that will help you get a good job, eventually. But more importantly, it is an education that provides you the tools to learn about the world’s problems and to become part of the solution to them. Those tools are all the more valuable because you live here in the most powerful country on earth. And it is a country whose government listens to its citizens, when they organize enough, speak enough, and act enough.

The second reason for why change the world is “because you should.” Your USF education has gone beyond the important task of equipping you to participate economically in the existing society, it has equipped you to participate morally in a society that is improved by your participation. You have been involved in service learning that provided you opportunities not just to help people who needed it, but to learn more about where you yourself fit it. USF’s diverse curriculum exposed you to the wonders and challenges of communities far away and close to home. All this learning enhanced your ability to connect others’ needs with your skills, and more importantly, with your personal fulfillment. Today, we are not just celebrating your becoming bachelors of arts and sciences, we are celebrating your becoming women and men for others, in the Jesuit tradition.

The third reason for why change the world is “because we need you to.” The most powerful country in the world has an enormous influence on daily life in Haiti, and in so many places like it around the world. Much of this influence is positive, but too often your country’s policies in Haiti are not consistent with our best interests or your highest ideals. Your country has undermined and overthrown many of our Presidents and replaced them with tyrants who imprison people like Father Gerry for the crime of speaking up for the poor. Your food aid policies, as President Clinton has conceded, often help your farmers with their surplus but put Haiti’s farmers out of business, increasing our hunger.

These policies happen because the majority lets them happen by declining to stay informed and engaged and leaving foreign policy to people with a strong ideological or economic self-interest. Only an engaged, informedUS citizenry like you, with a strong moral interest, can save us from these policies.

Improving US foreign policy may seem like a heavy load to carry, but that is exactly why we need men anpil - many hands- including your hands, to carry it. Just this week, we saw proof that enough hands can carry the heaviest load. Two years ago, UN peacekeepers introduced cholera into Haiti, while we were still recovering from the devastating earthquake. We had never known cholera, so the disease quickly spread throughout the country. It has killed 8,000 people and sickened over 600,000. The UN has its strengths and weaknesses, like any organization, and one of its weaknesses is an inability to respond fairly to the harm its peacekeepers caused. The UN denies responsibility and hides behind its immunity, denying its victims their day in court. It even denies that it caused our cholera epidemic, despite a mountain of proof as well as admissions by UN investigators and President Clinton, UN Special Envoy to Haiti, that it was responsible.

One year ago, our office filed claims with the UN on behalf of 5,000 cholera victims. Our legal claim was strong, but we knew we needed many more hands- men anpil—to obtain justice for our clients. So we worked with solidarity, religious and human rights groups from all over the world, especially in the U.S., which pays the largest share of UN peacekeeping costs. Our friends helped us convince 105 members of the U.S. Congress, which appropriates the UN peacekeeping costs, to sign a letter urging the UN to respond justly. Four hundred thousand people viewed Baseball in the Time of Cholera, a movie about our fight, online. Over 7,000 people have signed an online petition by Avaaz launched last Friday. And on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon made the historic announcement that the UN would commit to a $2.2 billion response to preventing and eventually eradicating cholera by expanding health care, sanitation and clean water systems. There are still many question marks about this initiative, but if it succeeds, it will save an estimated 4,000 lives a year from cholera and other water-borne disease.

The cholera case shows why it is so important to change the world from here. We love having USF students, alumni and faculty visit us in Haiti, but I have spent enough time in San Francisco to understand why you might never want to leave. And you don’t have to. There are plenty of borders erected between Haiti and San Francisco: immigration borders, language borders, economic borders, racial borders. But those borders do not really work unless we let them. They cannot stop computers carrying translatable text, videos, and pictures that convey our reality to yours, and yours to ours. They cannot stop you from inviting Haitians to speak at your schools, from your votes having an impact on policies in our country, or from events in Haiti having an influence in elections here.

The cholera case also shows that we need not just many hands, but many different types of hands. We needed lawyers, of course, but we also needed artists to create compelling videos, scientists and doctors to analyze the evidence, economists to weigh the costs, writers to write about it, and teachers to teach it. Most important, we needed critical consumers of media, discerning financial supporters, and educated and engaged citizens.

I would now ask all the members of the class of 2012 to raise your right hand. Good. Now please raise your left hand. Good. Now repeat after me: men anpil, chay pa lou (chorus). Again: men anpil, chay pa lou (chorus). How about everyone else, please join them and raise your hands: men anpil chay pa lou.(Chorus). Very good.

Now please answer the question: “How do we change the world from here?” Chorus: “Men anpil, chay pa lou!” How? Chorus: “Men anpil, chay pa lou!” Merci beacoup, thank you so much. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fatal Neglect

UN Web Broadcast on Cholera (from CHAN/Roger Annis)

December 11, 2012

Today at the United Nations in New York City was the launch of "The Secretary-General’s Initiative for the Elimination of Cholera in Haiti." You can watch the 18-minute announcement on UN Web TV, consisting of remarks by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Haiti Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, and the minister of health of the Dominican Republic (there is silence until the three-minute mark of the broadcast):

The Secretary-General said that $215 million in new funding is pledged to the Initiative. He also announced that Dr. Paul Farmer has accepted to serve as the Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on cholera treatment and prevention.

No mention of the United Nations MINUSTAH military mission in Haiti as being the source of the cholera epidemic was made throughout the formal proceedings, nor was there any mention of the legal action against the UN demanding compensation for the victims of cholera and a rapid program to build clean water infrastructure throughout the country. Nospecific mention was made of the Haitian and international agencies that have been heroically battling the cholera epidemic over the past fourteen months, excepting a brief mention by the minister of health of the DR regarding Cuba's medical brigade in Haiti. The Secretary General spoke more of cholera vaccine than of clean water supply and sanitation systems in the fight against cholera.

Prime Minister Lamothe spoke for four minutes. He gave thanks to governments and agencies in Haiti assisting with cholera treatment. He said that his government has a two-year plan to fight cholera that it estimates to cost "about" $600 million. He said that the $215 million pledged by the Secretary-General plus another $23 million from an existing commitment is the financial head start of his government's plan. "We have to work together to bridge the remaining gap," he said.

statement by the Pan-American Health Organization on January 12, 2012, the two-year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, said that improvements to sanitation and clean water supply in Haiti and the Dominican republic were "absolutely essential." It estimated those costs as "$746 million to $1.1 billion," citing as sources the Inter-American Development Bank, Office of the Haitian Primer Minister and World Bank).

PAHO statement on June 29, 2012 announced, "Representatives of international and civil society organizations today agreed to promote major investments in water and sanitation infrastructure in Haiti and the Dominican Republic as the long-term solution to the cholera epidemic in those countries." No details nor fund amounts were reported.

There was no further detail today of the precise figures of expenditure in the two countries for cholera treatment and prevention, nor any explanation of why such an "absolutely essential" program of public health is being announced yet gain with incomplete details of funding pleges, amounts and overall strategy.

The prime minister said that his government's policy of encouraging foreign investment in factory investment is a key to improving Haiti's social and public health conditions. A cholera prevention program, he said, will be an important "job creation" program.

At the end of the 18-minute ceremony, it was announced that Nigel Fisher would speak to media in a separate room. There is apparently no webcast of this proceeding.

If you have not already done so, please sign the international petition on Avaaz, initiated by film director Oliver Stone and others, urging the UN Secretary-Generalto respond to Haitian calls, including legal action, for a robust program of cholera treatment and preventionand compensation for the victims of the epidemic. Read and sign the petition here.

--Roger Annis

UN launches new initiative to eliminate cholera in Haiti and Dominican Republic

UN News Center, December 11, 2012

11 December 2012 – The United Nations today announced a new initiative to help eliminate cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the two nations that make up the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.

“The new initiative will invest in prevention, treatment, and education – it will take a holistic approach to tackling the cholera challenge,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the initiative’s launch. “The main focus is on the extension of clean drinking water and sanitation systems – but we are also determined to save lives now through the use of an oral cholera vaccine.”

“Because global vaccines are in short supply, we will first target high-risk areas: densely populated urban areas and rural areas far removed from health services,” he added. “As production increases, the vaccine effort will expand its reach.”

Launched at UN Headquarters in New York in the presence of government officials (sic) from the two countries, the new initiative will support an existing campaign – known as the Initiative for the Elimination of Cholera in the Island of Hispaniola – established almost a year ago by the Presidents of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with the bacterium known as vibrio cholerae. The disease has a short incubation period and produces a toxin that causes continuous watery diarrhoea, a condition that can quickly lead to severe dehydration and death if treatment is not administered promptly.

In his remarks at the launch, the Secretary-General noted that in Haiti the disease has claimed the lives of more than 7,750 people, infected over 620,000, and added more suffering to a country already recovering from a major earthquake in 2010, the largest natural disaster in the history of the western hemisphere.

Ten months after the earthquake, the Caribbean nation experienced a major cholera outbreak.

The United Nations and its partners have been working with the Haitian authorities to respond to the outbreak, with a focus on water and sanitation facilities, as well as on training, logistics and early warning.

“Haiti has seen a dramatic fall in infection and fatality rates. But this will not be a short-term crisis,” Mr. Ban said. “Eliminating cholera from Haiti will continue to require the full cooperation and support of the international community.”

The UN chief said resources will be critical, with Haiti needing almost $500 million over the next two years to carry out its national implementation plan for the disease.

Noting that the relevant humanitarian appeals are less than half-funded, Mr. Ban said he will “use every opportunity” in the months ahead to mobilize more funding.

“Today I am pleased to announce that $215 million in existing funds from bilateral and multilateral donors will be used to support the initiative. I thank the donor community for this generous commitment,” Mr. Ban said. “The United Nations will do its part. We are committing $23.5 million, building on the $118 million the UN system has spent on the cholera response to date.”

He added that the United Nations will also continue to support the Government of Haiti in tracking cholera spending and ensure the effective use of resources.

“Today, as ever, we are in Haiti for one reason alone: to help the Haitian people make their great country all that it can be. We know the elimination of cholera is possible. Science tells us it can be done. It has happened in difficult environments around the world. It can and will happen in Haiti,” the Secretary-General added.

At the launch, the Secretary-General also announced that a world-renowned humanitarian, Dr. Paul Farmer, will serve as his Special Adviser focusing on community-based medicine and on drawing lessons from Haiti that can be applied to other places in need.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Haitian Hearts/Peoria

It's all the same.

Many good people on the ground that care.

Many good people who invoke Jesus's name all the time. Peoria version of "Si Bon Dieu vle".

Way more good here than bad.

It's all the same.

Young men smoking cigarettes talking through second floor open window of project housing to a woman that doesn't want to be bothered on sidewalk below.

United Against Violence on blue strap hanging from her neck.

John 3:16 carved in cement.

It's all the same.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Mike DeWine Attorney General of Ohio

The United States needs many more people in leadership roles like Mike DeWine.

Haitian Hearts is very grateful for all AG DeWine has done for us.

Please read this article

Sunday, December 02, 2012

What about the Restaveks? Restavek Hotline? Let's Get Real....

Back to previous page

Haiti to overhaul adoption laws to protect its children, curb child trafficking and neglect

By Associated Press, Published: November 30

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Haiti is overhauling its adoption laws for the first time in nearly 40 years in an attempt to end practices that have allowed thousands of children to be trafficked out of the country or suffer from neglect as they languish in squalid orphanages.

The proposed legislation is meant to bring Haiti in line with international laws that seek to protect children under consideration for overseas adoptions, said Arielle Jeanty Villedrouin, general director of the government’s social welfare agency. The legislation has gone before the Senate for review and awaits approval from both houses of Parliament.

The proposal includes a requirement that both biological parents give informed consent for adoptions. It also establishes Villedrouin’s office as the “central authority” for all overseas adoptions, which is a requirement of the Hague Adoption Convention, and prohibits adoptions that aren’t authorized by the government.

“A parent who wants to adopt a child can’t just go to a website and say, ‘This is a child I want.’ The children aren’t merchandise or cars,” Villedrouin said in an interview.

Other reforms hope to help the child land in a stable home, including requirements that couples adopting a child must be married for five years, with one spouse at least 30 years old. A single person filing for adoption must be at least 35.

Adoptions will also only be permitted once all other forms of support for the child have been exhausted.
Ann Linnarsson, a Haiti-based child protection specialist with the UN children’s agency UNICEF, welcomed the proposed changes.

“It will mean that the child being adopted needs a new family and that you will know this child has been screened,” Linnarsson said. “There will be some accountability. ... The adopting parents will know that their child has not been trafficked or stolen.”

The need for new legislation is acute in Haiti, where an estimated 50,000 children live in orphanages in part because many parents give up their children because they can’t afford to take care of them.
Many orphanages are poorly run and have little oversight. U.S. missionaries managed to get the government to close one home last year in Carrefour, one of the cities that make up the Haitian capital region, after they noted that several children disappeared and the operators didn’t offer credible explanations for what happened.

It’s not entirely known how many Haitian children are trafficked into neighboring Dominican Republic or elsewhere. But UNICEF recently estimated that at least 2,000 children were smuggled across the border in 2009.

The changes were welcome news to Shasta Grimes and her husband, who have been waiting for more than two years to adopt a Haitian boy who’s 5 years old.

“The laws they’ve had — they’ve been up to interpretation,” the 32-year-old woman said by phone from her home in Arcadia, Florida. “It’s been really difficult for anyone to know what the standard is or the correct procedure is. With legislation in place it’s going to really set in place an international standard.”

The vulnerability of Haiti’s children was dramatized in the weeks after the January 2010 earthquake when Baptist missionaries from Idaho tried to take 33 children they believed were orphans to the Dominican Republic. Police arrested the Americans for lacking the proper documents to take the kids, all of whom turned out had living parents and had been voluntarily turned over to the missionaries.
Even if the new legislation passes, enforcement may prove tricky. Officials have long complained that child welfare workers lack the resources and training to investigate allegations of criminal behavior.
Over the past year, Villedrouin said, the government has closed 26 orphanages for operating in substandard conditions. She said under the new law, more “sanctions will be taken.”

Absent from the legislation is any reference to Haiti’s informal internal adoption system, in which parents hand over their children to other families to clean homes and do other chores in exchange for money or school tuition. Between 250,000 and 500,000 children in Haiti are forced to work as domestic servants known as “restaveks,” Haitian Creole for “stay with,” according to the International Organization for Migration.

The government has created a “restavek” hotline for people to call and report cases of abuse, Villedrouin said.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.