Heartland Alliance Helps in Haiti

March 5, 2010 8:02:27 AM PST
A Chicago-based group is helping prevent child trafficking in Haiti following the devastating earthquake in January.(News Release) Heartland Alliance, a Chicago-based human rights organization, is actively engaged in preventing child trafficking in Haiti. With help from UNICEF, Heartland Alliance will identify unaccompanied children and reunite them with their families or connect them to care facilities in Haiti.

"We have rapid response teams on the ground in Haiti to prevent child trafficking," says Sid Mohn, Heartland Alliance's president. "We're trying to protect Haitian children who might be at risk because they are orphaned or separated from their parents."

Heartland Alliance's teams of child protection officers will visit hospitals in and around Port-au-Prince to identify and register unaccompanied children. The teams will also locate and register unaccompanied children who have already been released from hospitals and will educate hospital staff on the protection needs of children. Heartland Alliance will work with UNICEF and other non-governmental organizations in Haiti to reunite children with family members wherever possible.

In the aftermath of a crisis such as the Haiti earthquake, children are especially vulnerable; there is increased potential for trafficking and abuse. Heartland Alliance has long been at the forefront of this issue. Through its Travelers Aid services at O'Hare, its renowned International Children's Center, and a leading role in advocating for the passage of the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, Heartland Alliance has improved protections for unaccompanied immigrant children seeking safety in the United States. In addition to domestic programs and advocacy work, Heartland Alliance has also established anti-trafficking programs in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon.

For more information about Heartland Alliance and its services, please visit heartlandalliance.org

About Heartland Alliance: Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights helps people who are threatened by poverty or danger improve their lives and realize their human rights. For more than 120 years we have been providing solutions ? through services and policy ? creating paths from crisis to stability and on to success. Our work in housing, health care, legal protections, and economic security supports more than 200,000 people annually, helping them build a better future.