Haitian and United Nation officials are becoming alarmed at the rising number of child kidnapping in that country. The kidnappings are being carried out by gangs who are taking the children on their way from school, in some cases raping and sexually abusing them, and then charging a ransom for their release (although there have been cases where a family paid the gang the ransom and the child was still murdered). According to the International Herald Tribune, in the last five weeks there have been fourteen kidnappings and one murder of children by these gangs.
This is not a new problem. In 2007, according to the UN, there were 80 kidnappings. According to Haitian officials, the kidnappers are now viewing what they do as a "business", especially since some ransoms can be as high as $25,000.
Although MINUSTAH, an UN mission inside of Haiti, have attempted to end the gang problem, there is still an obvious problem. According to Human Rights Watch's 2008 Annual Report, "Police lawlessness continues to contribute to overall insecurity. HNP [Haitian National Police] members are responsible for arbitrary arrests, as well as excessive and indiscriminate use of force." Haiti's legal system is also crooked, and "ranked as the most corrupt of the 163 countries surveyed in 2006 [by the Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index]" (HWR Annual Report). So, as we can see, Haiti's government is not in a position to do much to help these children.
International Herald Tribune