A child holds a toy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: EFE
Accommodations for homeless children in Port-au-Prince is running empty because of gangs, recruiting minors to participate in the urban war that scared the Haitian capital for a month.
Since the worsening of the sociopolitical and economic crisis marked by the escalation of armed groups, kidnapping and massacrethere are few children on the streets of the metropolitan area of the Haitian capital.
“The soldiers of the armed groups they come to recruit us at night“, said a minor who flows in the middle of Champ de Mars square, near the National Palace and where there are always many young streets.
A reception center for these minors was inaugurated in that area in 2013, the first of its kind within a rehabilitation program, but now it is almost empty and abandoned.
The children rest inside the home of the Catholic church in Port-au-Prince. Photo: EFE
“There are about 48 people here. They spend the day somewhere else and every night they sleep,” said one of the seniors who sleeps in the area designed to accommodate up to 400 people.
This man says armed gangs Ti Lapli, Bougoy at 100 Jours They are among those recruiting minors in this area.
According to sociologist Djems Olivier, from Haitian State University, The phenomenon is not newsince 2000 armed groups have used men.
“It’s kids already used as human shields or as explorers (…) The crime rate is higher in a young soldier than in an adult soldier, ”he thought.
A street child is bathing in a public plaza near the National Palace. Photo: EFE
Olivier points out that “children are gradually on the streets”, to add that this absence is not for joining other shelters, especially for help from NGOs or the Ministry of Social Affairs.
a vanished hope
Very few children in the courtyard, young people guarding the entrance, voodoo music, cigarettes and the drug comes and goes. In the back, the men and women are naked. The patio offers the image of an abandoned space where grass is everywhere.
That’s the reality today of the reception center for street children that opened its doors nine years ago and is now inside. a sad situation.
A child uses drugs in an abandoned shelter. Photo: EFE
The dormitories were turned into public toilets with a disgusting smell, all kinds of garbage on the floor and no electricity.
The area is under the control of G9 Fanmi e Alye, one of the most powerful armed gangs in Haiti, led by former police officer Jimmy Cherizier, dubbed Barbecue.
“The director started wasting materials, some of us made others,” confessed a 20-year-old who grew up in the shelter.
Extreme gang violence
In mid -May, the UN confirmed that there were reports of recruitment of young soldiers who participated in the wave of violence released on April 24.
He also said that, among the acts of extreme violence recorded last month, there were many murders of children suspected of being informant for opposing gangs.
A boy walks into an abandoned Haitian state -funded shelter for street children. Photo: EFE
Gangs also use it acts of sexual violence, including gang rape of children up to 10 years, to intimidate and intimidate local populations living in areas controlled by rival gangs.
Between April 24 and May 16, at least 92 civilians and 96 suspected gang members were killed in the combined armed attacks in Port-au-Prince, according to UN estimates.
Another 113 people were injured and 12 were reported missing, but the true number of people died may be higher.
Milo Milfort, EFE