In 2014, Georgette Mulheir joined Haitian government officials in raising their voices for action to stop the abuse of vulnerable children and families. She helped create the Child Trafficking Victims Protection Center, which was instrumental in bringing the necessary awareness of child trafficking to Haitian authorities, so the government could enact new protections and support services for children and families. Georgette Mulheir speaks from personal experience. She and her family lived in the Dominican Republic for years, and she experienced the heartbreaking effects of being trafficked as a child.
Georgette’s courage and passion to help the most vulnerable has made her an asset to Haiti’s democratic process. Her recent tour in the US, to raise awareness and promote our cause, has been sponsored by the International Children’s Emergency Fund (“ICEF”). Many children are abused and many of the parents who surrender their children in these institutions live in total poverty. When Georgette Mulheir discovered this system, she started working with the United Nations and international organizations to create a specialized anti-trafficking unit in Haiti, which would create policies that would protect both Haitian children and their parents.
Georgette Mulheir: Unfortunately, most of these orphanages are not run by a Haitian social worker, as they claim, but have been funded, primarily, by Haitian/American expats. They set up a business structure to launder money. They have a web of seemingly legit businesses or charities. For example, one orphanage opened a daycare, another bought tons of school supplies to give to needy children, another opened a free medical clinic to recruit volunteers to give medical care. The social workers say that the children were just ‘placed’ there, but how do you move dozens or hundreds of children, from one orphanage to another? They don’t have relatives. The children were totally taken away from their families in Haiti.
Georgette Mulheir: When the earthquake struck in 2010, every building was flattened, and Haiti was devastated. I learned of orphanages opening, trafficking in orphans, and the creation of what I came to call “fake orphanages.” These were tourist homes, one time homes for families to stay in Haiti, one time homes for Haitian children, which are now used for child trafficking. What was amazing to me, Georgette Mulheir keeps on, is how these “fake orphanages” were created so quickly, and within days, they were an operation, with 20 or more kids being taken away from their families.