Three more young girls have been kidnapped in Haiti over the past week, the United Nations peacekeeping mission to the impoverished Caribbean country reports, amid mounting UN concern about the continuing spate of child abductions.
An eight-year-old girl was kidnapped in the capital, Port-au-Prince, last Thursday, and the following day a seven-year-old girl was abducted in the town of Arcahaie, according to the UN mission (known as MINUSTAH).
On Saturday, a three-year-old girl who had been kidnapped two days earlier was found in Arcahaie and brought to hospital after being injured with a razor blade.
While both boys and girls have been kidnapped, it seems that females are a large target, and often raped and sexually abused. The criminal gangs who are kidnapping the children (while on their way to and from school) also frequently end up killing them, despite the family paying their requested ransom. Massimo Toschi, a child protection adviser with MINUSTAH, says that while successfully decreasing the prevalence of adult kidnappings may have led the gangs to move on to target children in response.
MINUSTAH, the Haitian police and the military have been working diligently to curb this devastating trend, and now have a new victim to protect.