Editor’s note: For the safety and security of human trafficking survivors interviewed for this story, we are not using their full names.
There are at least 30,000 children living in orphanages in Haiti. It is a staggering number for a country of 10 million people, but perhaps even more shocking, most of them are not orphans.
The government estimates 80 percent of the children living in orphanages have at least one living parent.
In many cases, parents themselves are placing their children in institutions because they cannot afford to care for them. It is a practice that has long been common in Haiti, exacerbated by the 2010 earthquake that left tens of thousands of people homeless. Parents believe their children will be better off in an orphanage where they will be fed, cared for, and sent to school.
Unfortunately, that is not often the case.
The government’s top a