Eight Baptist missionaries spent their first night of freedom in three weeks in a Miami hotel after a Haitian judge released them from jail where they were being held on suspicion of child trafficking for trying to transport Haitian children out of the country without the proper authorization.
Upon arriving in Miami, they didn’t speak with reporters, which was understandable, given they arrived at Miami around midnight local time, deplaning a U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo plane.
One consideration that may impact what they say when and if they finally talk is that two members of their group still remained in a Haitian jail. The judge didn’t release Laura Silsby, their organizer, and her former nanny Charisa Coulter.
The Haitian judge declined to release them with the rest, explaining that he was seeking to better understand why the two were in Haiti before the January 12 magnitude 7.0 earthquake which killed hundreds of thousands of Haitians and devastated the capital of Port-au-Prince.
The missionaries initial story was that they were in Haiti to rescue children orphaned by the earthquake.
But it later turned out that many of the children still had living parents. At least some of those parents said they had given away their children to the missionaries so they would have a better life outside Haiti.
The missionaries were stopped as they tried to cross over the Haitian border into the Dominican Republic lacking the proper authorizing paperwork or identity papers for the children.
Haiti has had a particular problem with child trafficking and slavery because of the nation’s stifling poverty, causing the government to take stricter measures to ensure that adoptions are legitimate.
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