On Saturday, my boss called me with some sobering news: The Haitian orphanage our organization had been working with for over a year was trafficking children.
This kind of news feels like a punch in the gut. It hurts, makes you feel powerless. Apparently, there's corruption pretty high-up in the system that makes it hard for us to help the seventy-five orphans still in need of care.
So this is where I turn to you — a network of writers and and communicators — passionate people eager to change the world. This is your chance.
Here is the gist of the story from our executive director Seth Barnes:
Backed by corrupt government officials, an orphanage we work with in Haiti has been trafficking its orphans. Suspecting foul play, we've been investigating for the last year. We've not been ready to go to the media until we had the facts.
As a result, the orphanage director is now in jail, but the 75 children left in the orphanage are still in danger.
A worker said, “The kids are in terrible condition — the doctor gave them some prescriptions, but we doubt that the medicine will ever be administered to the children. Instead, the medicine will probably be sold.”
The situation is dire. Donated monies aren't getting to people in need. Children are disappearing. One five-year-old girl weighs only eleven pounds and is on the verge of death.
What this means for writers
This is the moment of truth for us: Do we write to be heard, or do we use our words to change things?
I hope it's the latter.
Because, writers, we need your voice. And we need it now.
We need you to speak. To raise a ruckus. To allow the cries of seventy-five Haitian children to be enough to make a stand.
Will you speak?
It won't be enough to contact local aid groups; we've already done that. We need to go to the top. We need national media coverage.
That's why we've created a petition to get this story on CNN's radar. We're working every angle we can, calling up friends and asking for favors, reaching out to any media connections we have. We need to expose the corruption involved in this issue, because lives are at stake.
This is not the time to wait; this is not some impersonal cause. People I know and work with are very close to this situation.
This is real.
How you can help
- Sign the petition and share it with others
- Tweet this post using hashtags #cnnfreedom #endslavery & #not_for_sale Tweet
- Contact any local or national media you know, asking them to run the story. Contact me for more details and documentation.
- Blog about this and encourage your readers to sign the petition.
- Pray. (I believe this changes things.)
For more about this story, read this article: Help stop Haitian officials from trafficking orphans
And don't forget to sign the petition.
*Photo credit: Megan Boudreaux