Mired in poverty and disease since the day they were born, Haiti’s orphans now face a future made even darker by the lingering aftermath of a destructive earthquake that has left their country in ruins. To rescue them from a lifetime of hopelessness will take more than the adoption efforts of altruistic humanitarians.
Schools destroyed by the magnitude-7.0 temblor must be rebuilt and a health care system in shambles must be fixed if they and the Haitians they are intended to serve are to have any chance at a future.
Those were among the opinions expressed on the University of Miami campus Tuesday when CNN anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien appeared at the Cosford Cinema to screen a portion of her new documentary, Rescued, on the plight of Haiti’s orphans, and to lead a subsequent panel discussion on what it will take to rebuild the Caribbean country. UM’s School of Communication and the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (FIAC) organized O’Brien’s visit.
By some estimates, there were some “380,000 orphans living in Haiti before the earthquake,” O’Brien said. But that number is surely much higher because of the catastrophe that claimed the lives of many adults, leaving their children without parents. The poorest of the poor, many of Haiti’s children fall victim to human trafficking and a restavek system of domestic servitude in which they live legally as slaves.