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Haiti (Tier 2 Watch List)

The Government of Haiti does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. These efforts included adopting national standard operating procedures (SOPs) for victim identification and support, improving oversight of vulnerable children in orphanages, completing a new national action plan (NAP), conducting extensive anti-trafficking trainings, and collaborating with NGOs on victim identification. However, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period, even considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity. Impunity and complicity, particularly in high-profile cases, remained serious problems. The government did not report anti-trafficking law enforcement or victim protection efforts apart from those involving children. The government did not provide funding for the National Committee for the Fight Against Human Trafficking (CNLTP) or adult victim services in fiscal year 2021. The government did not make sufficient efforts to combat situations of child domestic servitude (restavek). Therefore Haiti remained on Tier 2 Watch List for the second consecutive year.

  • Vigorously investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers, including complicit officials and those responsible for domestic servitude—including situations involving children—and child sex trafficking.
  • Fund and implement the national anti-trafficking action plan, including funding the CNLTP, providing victim assistance, establishing victim shelters, and improving law enforcement and victim case tracking and documentation.
  • Develop, fund, and implement a NAP for 2022 onwards to combat trafficking.
  • Improve evidence-gathering.
  • Train police, prosecutors, judges, and victim service providers on the new SOPs; refer trafficking victims to appropriate shelters and services; and ensure a victim-centered approach for the treatment of victims and witnesses of trafficking crimes during investigations and court proceedings, especially to ensure they are not coerced into testifying.
  • Educate the public with traditional and social media about children’s rights to freedom and education and ban domestic servitude.
  • Implement measures to address the vulnerabilities leading to domestic servitude, including establishment of a minimum age for domestic work and protecting child victims from neglect, abuse, and violence.
  • Develop Haiti’s nascent foster care system and alternative residential care for children, and ensure orphanages are properly accredited and registered.
  • Fully implement the national ID program and expand it to cover children.
  • Ensure hotlines to report trafficking crimes are functioning.
  • Regularly screen Cuban medical workers for trafficking indicators and refer victims to services.
  • Implement a witness protection program.
  • Train more labor inspectors in trafficking indicators, increase worksite inspections for indicators of labor trafficking, and increase collaboration with law enforcement to prosecute labor trafficking cases.
  • Develop laws or policies to regulate foreign labor recruiters, ensure workers are not required to pay recruitment fees, and raise awareness among potential migrant laborers.

The government decreased law enforcement efforts. The 2014 Anti-Trafficking (Anti-TIP) Law (No.CL/20140010) criminalized sex trafficking and labor trafficking and prescribed penalties of seven to 15 years’ imprisonment and a fine ranging from 200,000 to 1.5 million Haitian gourdes (HTG) ($2,000 to $15,030), which were sufficiently stringent and, with respect to sex trafficking, commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The law provided for increased penalties of up to life imprisonment when the victim was a child.

The government did not report law enforcement or judicial statistics for the reporting period apart from those involving children. The government reported the Brigade for the Protection of Minors (BPM) conducted 466 investigations in 2021 of crimes against children, but it did not disaggregate the data or specify how many of these investigations involved potential child trafficking crimes. This compares with 585 investigations in 2020 for crimes against children, which BPM reported led to opening 424 cases related to children in forced labor, trafficking, and illicit activities, without disaggregating the trafficking cases. The investigations included unannounced site visits and closures of nightclubs, residences, and orphanages in cooperation with the Haitian Social Welfare Agency (IBESR). The government did not report other investigation efforts, compared with investigations initiated for three cases during the previous reporting period, 42 cases in 2019, and nine in 2018. The government did not report arresting any suspected traffickers in 2021. An NGO reported the government arrested one individual after an NGO’s identification of a victim following the government’s training of NGOs on the new SOPs. The Haitian National Police (HNP) border patrol unit (POLIFRONT) and authorities with the CNLTP reported the arrest of six alleged traffickers during the previous reporting period and 51 individuals arrested in 35 trafficking cases in 2019.

The government did not initiate any new prosecutions, compared to initiating two prosecutions of an unknown number of defendants during the previous reporting period, one in 2019, and seven in 2018. Authorities continued prosecution of 13 cases involving an unknown number of defendants from prior reporting periods, down from 21 cases at the end of the previous reporting period; however, the government did not report on the status of the continuing cases or the outcome of the other eight prosecutions observers noted likely closed. BPM reported the government prosecuted 24 traffickers for crimes related to forced child labor but did not report the status of those cases or whether they involved other crimes. The government did not report convicting any traffickers, compared with two convictions during the previous reporting period, none in 2019, and one in 2018. Courts sentenced a man to 15 years in prison for child trafficking crimes committed in 2016.

Impunity and complicity in high-profile trafficking cases continued to be significant concerns. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government employees complicit in human trafficking crimes. Government and civil society experts reported the judicial system appeared incapable of delivering justice to victims in trafficking cases, although outside observers noted that trafficking was not unique among crimes in this respect. Experts consistently alleged that employees within the Ministry of Justice were complicit in human trafficking crimes and that cases did not proceed to conviction as a result. Outside observers also reported police and immigration officials were complicit in human trafficking at the Haiti-Dominican Republic border; IBESR reported traffickers often avoided screening by crossing at unofficial points, noting that official complicity and corruption greatly exacerbated the problem. Observers reported allegations that judicial officials in border jurisdictions, such as justices of the peace, sometimes took bribes to free detained suspected traffickers, which contributed to an environment in which traffickers largely operated with impunity.

Authorities took no action against the former president of the Haitian Football Federation, banned for life by the International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) and fined 1 million Swiss francs ($1.09 million) and procedural costs for the rape and sexual abuse—at times including sex trafficking—of up to 34 females, including at least 14 girls, between 2014 and 2020 in a decision by the FIFA Ethics Committee, which was referred for review to the FIFA Appeal Committee at the end of the reporting period. Authorities also had not acted against 10 other perpetrators and accomplices in the case, including the head of the Haitian National Referees Committee who FIFA provisionally suspended for 90 days as part of its ongoing investigation. In March 2022, a popular Haitian athlete filed a criminal complaint with the HNP that, beginning at age 11, a former Minister of Youth, Sports, and Civil Actions had repeatedly raped him from approximately 1986 to 1988, while the accused was a teacher at the individual’s school. There were reports that other victims filed civil suits against the accused claiming similar abuse. Over the past 40 years, there have been consistent reports against the same individual of rape, child rape, pedophilia, systemic child abuse, and child sex trafficking, including in connection with the 2014-2020 FIFA abuse. When prosecutors brought charges in response to the prior allegations, judges dismissed every case for lack of evidence. By the close of the reporting period, the HNP had not reported taking steps to investigate the latest complaint. At the end of the reporting period, an investigative judge had not determined what charges to bring, if any, regarding two August 2020 raids of the La Mansion brothel in which authorities identified 12 female Venezuelan sex trafficking victims. The media reported high-level government officials had patronized the brothel before the raid and some of those involved had political influence. Authorities arrested a driver of the main suspected trafficker but subsequently released him; the judge issued a travel ban against the facility’s owner. An NGO reported the judicial police officers at the crime scene failed to gather sufficient evidence, the investigative judge had not subsequently acted, and the alleged perpetrators were granted a provisional release in direct contradiction of the 2014 anti-trafficking law. The government did not take steps to prosecute anyone in the 2017 Kaliko Beach Club case in which authorities identified 31 trafficking victims, including children. An NGO reported that the decision to immediately release nine of the 12 alleged traffickers without charging them with any offense revealed that the commissioners purposely ignored the law. The CNLTP reported some judges did not explain why they did not process some cases, including a case where a justice of the peace investigated an orphanage suspected of sexual abuse and child trafficking but never questioned the suspects.

Natural disasters, the pandemic, and a presidential assassination during the reporting period significantly impacted the capacity of the government to implement successful anti-trafficking activities. The pandemic exacerbated a backlog in court cases that already existed due to general inefficiency. The assassination of the president in July led to lack of government action on many fronts, including anti-trafficking efforts. An earthquake and a tropical storm in August, and another earthquake in January, led to the destruction of the southern peninsula’s critical infrastructure and rendered many areas physically unreachable by the government. Widespread gang violence impeded police efforts to investigate trafficking crimes. While the CNLTP had cross-sectoral anti-trafficking task forces established in all 10 geographical departments in 2020, it could not access areas controlled by gangs, including in Port-au-Prince, resulting in the closure of the task force in one geographical department and limited law enforcement action in many regions.

Due to the presidential assassination, the government halted efforts to update its outdated and complex penal and criminal procedural codes. According to outside experts, the abandonment of the penal code reforms was a positive development because authorities were considering weakening many provisions related to trafficking. However, the outdated and overly complex existing codes continued to delay prosecution of trafficking cases. The Superior Council of the Judiciary (CSPJ), charged with independently overseeing the judiciary, did not adequately promote prosecution of trafficking cases. Government officials rarely used the anti-trafficking law to prosecute and convict the perpetrators of child domestic servitude.

The government, in collaboration with civil society actors (and frequently with donor funding), conducted training and awareness-building for law students, lawyers, judges, POLIFRONT agents, and members of the regional task forces. An NGO reported the CNLTP trained seven regional task forces out of the country’s 10 regional departments with facilitation from the NGO; the other three departments in the southwestern peninsula received written training materials due to access challenges caused by the earthquake and increased gang violence and control of the primary national road heading to the southern departments. The CNLTP and the National Council of Legal Assistance signed a memorandum of understanding to ensure trafficking victims had access to legal assistance.

The government slightly increased protection efforts. Outside observers and government interlocutors noted the government provided limited services to victims of trafficking and largely depended on partners to fund and provide services. The government identified 190 Haitian victims of child labor trafficking, although these may have included non-trafficking victims of child exploitation and abuse. NGOs identified 13 victims of sex or labor trafficking who were likely children; some were identified in situations of domestic servitude and others in cross-border trafficking. The government reported it referred all 190 victims to services, including medical, psychosocial, and legal assistance. The NGOs reported providing care to the 13 victims they identified and referring the cases to relevant government agencies as directed by the SOPs. The government identified 16 confirmed adult trafficking victims and 53 possible adult and child victims and referred all to care during the previous reporting period; the government and an NGO identified 27 victims in 2019. The government reported it included children in forced labor in domestic service (restavek situations) among these identified cases. The government and outside observers reported that a lack of awareness of and training on the new SOPs (adopted on July 1, 2021) hindered the tracking of victim statistics by the SOPs’ victim protection categories.

In coordination with NGOs and an international organization, and with funding from foreign donors, in July 2021 the government finalized the SOPs, which created a national protocol for victim identification, referral, and care for the first time in Haiti’s history. The SOPs detailed separate screening measures for adults (men and women); children; children in forced labor in domestic service (restavek situations); children in orphanages; potential victims of labor trafficking; potential victims of sex trafficking; migrants; medical personnel; and foreigners. Under the SOPs, individuals in commercial sex must be screened for trafficking indicators as a matter of procedure before taking any punitive action due to their involvement in commercial sex, which is illegal in the country. The SOPs mandated that responsible parties—government agencies or NGOs to whom the government has delegated responsibility—conducting anti-trafficking screenings must both follow the general procedures and account for specific considerations, including sex, age, nationality, disability, and other such factors. The SOPs also updated the procedures for victim referral, formally codifying the process for the first time. Referral procedures stated that responsible parties must adhere to and protect the following when referring trafficking victims to services: human rights, human dignity, non-discrimination, confidentiality, and the best interests of the victim. Mechanisms existed in the SOPs to administer victim referrals equitably.

The law required the government to provide protection, medical, legal, and psychosocial services to victims and to create a government-regulated fund to assist victims, but in the continued absence of a national budget for part of the reporting period, the government remained reliant on international organizations and NGOs to provide most adult care. The new SOPs detailed procedures for responsible parties to follow when providing victim services, which included: medical services; temporary and safe accommodation; gender conscious services; psychosocial services; disability accommodation services; professional services; and legal services. BPM and an NGO reported BPM stayed in close contact with CNLTP and IBESR to provide child victim services.

IBESR reported it screened Haitian children for trafficking indicators before they entered the Dominican Republic at all four Haitian-side official crossing points and reported officials did so despite not receiving salaries. CNLTP and IBESR reported they focused on maintaining trafficking screening in border regions, training responsible parties, and collaborating with Dominican Republic authorities on training and awareness-building. The Ministry of Public Health provided free health services, including HIV post-exposure prophylaxis, to victims of sexual violence and trafficking as part of its action plan against sexual and gender-based violence. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor offered temporary shelter, meal kits, and medical aid to trafficking victims via the National Migration Office and the government’s Social Assistance Fund. The CNLTP indicated the police provided victims physical security and IBESR also assisted with family tracing and pre-return assessments before returning children to families. IBESR operated a single transitional facility. Children were typically in this facility until placed with a family member, foster family, or a registered and accredited private orphanage. IBESR reported children did not live in this facility for more than 90 days. The government required all privately run orphanages to be licensed, but in practice some were not. IBESR reported insecurity limited its ability to enforce closures of orphanages and foster care homes that were not in compliance with the 2014 anti-trafficking law. However, IBESR officially registered 129 of 754 institutions, the most it had ever registered, by the end of the reporting period. NGOs provided most funding for shelter services, including for the first shelter and social services organization for transgender youth that opened in Port au Prince during the reporting period, which could assist those at risk of abuse or crime among this population; it housed 10 individuals during the reporting period, including some potential trafficking victims. However, the government did not contribute to the shelter. The anti-trafficking law stipulated money and other assets seized during trafficking investigations should fund services for trafficking victims and the CNLTP; however, there was no evidence this occurred. There was no government agency with overall responsibility for providing care for adult trafficking victims, and the lack of resources and a system for tracking meant the government failed to identify some victims.

The government did not have a formal program to assist victims who returned to Haiti, but authorities worked with other countries’ maritime and airline services to receive and screen returned Haitians for trafficking indicators and facilitated their reintegration with family members. The government reported it undertook new efforts during the reporting period to ensure its migration policies did not facilitate trafficking. For example, it collaborated with a foreign government and an international organization to ensure the safe repatriation of more than 18,000 Haitians from the United States-Mexico border. The government screened these returnees for labor trafficking upon arrival and conducted trainings to improve the preparedness of officials. These actions enabled an international organization—with funding from a foreign donor—to distribute food, water, healthcare, hygiene kits, cash transfers, and phone cards to returnees upon arrival, in addition to evaluating the returnees to see if they required further care. The government also referred returned migrants to psychosocial, medical, and legal assistance services upon return. The government did not identify any trafficking victims from these groups of returnees. The government, supported by an international organization, also screened and provided services to potential trafficking victims identified during migrant interdictions at sea.

The government did not report any instances in which victims took part in the investigations or prosecutions of their traffickers during the reporting period. Authorities did not require victims to participate in the investigation or prosecution of their traffickers in order to access protection services. BPM reported it took steps to avoid the re-traumatization of child trafficking victims by offering to refer them to medical and psychosocial care after interventions. BPM retained one social worker on staff, who served as an alternative to speaking to law enforcement, and recognized it needed more such workers. NGOs reported that victim protections codified within the law were extensive and robust. For foreign victims, the law included provisions for voluntary repatriation, temporary residency during legal proceedings, and permanent residency if the country of origin could not ensure victims’ safety or well-being; the government did not report receiving any requests for application of these provisions. The law mandated that legal assistance be provided to trafficking victims. The law also provided protections for victims from liability for unlawful acts their traffickers compelled them to commit. The law allowed prosecutors to pursue claims even if victims withdrew their complaints or refused to cooperate with an investigation or prosecution. Judges could mandate restitution for related crimes under Haiti’s civil code without a separate civil process, but there were no awards for restitution made during the reporting period. There were no facilities for video deposition or child-friendly facilities during legal proceedings. Experts noted the lack of government-run child shelter facilities impeded prosecution because the government’s policy of returning child victims to their families made it difficult to locate witnesses to testify against the accused. The government may have failed to identify some victims and may have penalized some victims due to incomplete training on the new SOPs. Approximately 253 Cuban medical personnel were active in Haiti in mid-August 2021 following the earthquake and tropical storm; additional Cuban medical specialists arrived later in August 2021. The government did not oversee the contractual agreements between the workers and the Cuban government, screen Cuban medical workers for trafficking indicators, or provide protection services for potential victims, despite recognized trafficking risks among this population and the inclusion of medical personnel as a special screening category in the SOPs.

In collaboration with civil society and international partners, CNLTP trained labor inspectors, attendees at the SOP launch event, judicial actors, regional anti-trafficking taskforces, non-profit organizations, Haiti-Dominican Republic binational committee members, and local authorities on both sides of the border on the implementation of the SOPs; vulnerabilities of migrants, children in orphanages, and those in informal work; and cross-border child trafficking. An NGO noted the NGOs that identified the 13 confirmed victims did so following one of the SOP trainings.

The government maintained efforts to prevent trafficking. The president appointed members of the CNLTP, which included representatives from nine agencies, two “counselors” from civil society organizations, and one representative from the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman. CNLTP and IBESR met weekly, in person and virtually. Outside experts reported CNLTP and IBESR were effective at their missions of leading and coordinating anti-trafficking activities and noted improved technical coordination under difficult circumstances. Government, civil society, and international partner interlocutors were aware of their activities and often referred trafficking questions to them.

The government lacked a national, centralized database, and though it began developing one with the assistance of an NGO and a foreign donor in the previous reporting period, the project remained incomplete. Despite the legal mandate to adequately fund the government’s anti-trafficking institutions, the government reduced the CNLTP’s budget to zero in fiscal year 2021 (October 1, 2020-September 30, 2021). The Fiscal Year 2022 national budget allocations remained undetermined at the end of the reporting period. MAST had the responsibility to fund the CNLTP. Four of the 12 CNLTP committee members left their posts due to lack of funds, resulting in a lack of experience on CNLTP. The CNLTP last received funding in fiscal year 2020, receiving an allocation of 20 million HTG ($200,460). Observers noted the government expected to rely on foreign donors for funding. MAST funded IBESR and disbursed IBESR’s full national budget allocation of 94.75 million HTG ($949,650) for Fiscal Year 2021, which was similar to Fiscal Year 2020. Many government officials, including those conducting screening at border crossings, worked without pay.

The government completed a new NAP for 2021-2022. It focused on raising awareness; law enforcement case management; implementing SOPs and improving victim services; training; developing and regulating Haiti’s orphanage and foster care system and combating children in forced labor in domestic service (restavek situations); and interagency collaboration. Outside observers reported the NAP successfully identified key shortcomings and developed targeted institutional capacity-building initiatives—including directives on better documenting cases—to address those areas, but in only focusing on awareness raising among judicial actors, it failed to address all gaps in improving overall prosecution efforts. The NAP replaced a previous one for 2017-2022, which was underfunded. As the CNLTP did not receive any actual funding, it instead relied on non-governmental partners to fund its activities. Observers in past years reported the government generally underfunded anti-trafficking efforts. The CNLTP did not have permanent office space, equipment, or vehicles to conduct work; CNLTP instead conducted business at IBESR, MAST, or virtually. Foreign donors, international organizations, and NGOs provided the committee most logistical support, including transportation, during field visits, although the government reported IBESR was able to support some activities of the CNLTP. The government remained without a special fund for trafficking as stipulated in the 2014 anti-trafficking law. The fund would support anti-trafficking initiatives and assist victims from the sale of assets seized from traffickers.

The government supported an NGO’s study on the implementation of the 2014 anti-trafficking law that observers noted was the most comprehensive assessment undertaken to date. In partnership with the government—which coordinated and helped design the debate—and other NGOs and with funding from a foreign donor, a foreign NGO organized a human trafficking awareness campaign at universities and law schools for faculty and students. Eight educational institutions had participated in the campaign as of January 2022. As part of the same campaign, the NGO organized debates on human trafficking, between four law school faculties from different regions of the country. Following training by the CNLTP, an NGO conducted an awareness-building campaign focused on labor trafficking and domestic servitude including situations of forced child domestic servitude among merchants in Port-au-Prince. In the two previous reporting periods, BPM and an international organization each operated trafficking hotlines. No trafficking hotlines functioned during this reporting period, but the police maintained a general emergency phone line. The government published illicit migrant deterrent messaging via public radio and other media platforms that contained information on dangers, including trafficking, migrants could face.

The continued dysfunction of the civil registry system and weak consular capacity to provide identification documentation left many Haitians at risk of remaining undocumented in the Dominican Republic and subject to deportation—recognized risk factors for vulnerability to trafficking. As of March 2022, the government had registered nearly 5.4 million (approximately one million this reporting period) out of an estimated six million citizens older than the age of 18 and issued more than 4.3 million ID cards (approximately 1.2 million this reporting period) under a biometric ID card program begun during the previous reporting period. The government required the card in order to vote in elections, occupy a public service position, register for school, obtain a passport, and access financial services. However, the government reported that a lack of funding to expand the program to those older than the age of 13 negatively impacted the ability to prevent child trafficking.

The government had no clear strategy for conducting labor inspections. Although the labor code required recruiters and businesses to obtain a license and did not allow them to charge fees, Haiti did not have effective laws or policies to regulate foreign labor recruiters, prevent fraudulent recruiting, or have plans to raise awareness of the risks for potential migrant laborers. The government lacked sufficient staff and resources to inspect worksites for indicators of labor trafficking, although the government reported it certified 29 new labor inspectors following their anti-trafficking training and reported carrying out inspections for child labor and identifying trafficking cases. The lack of a minimum age for domestic work and exceptions in the laws governing child labor hindered investigations and prosecutions of child domestic servitude. The government reported IBESR staff and labor inspectors had not received sufficient training on child labor issues, despite a study indicating that more than 286,000 children were working in domestic service, some of whom were victims of forced labor. CNLTP canceled planned trainings on forced labor due to the natural disasters. The government did not report or publish data on child work, child labor, or the worst forms of child labor. The government did not report proactive measures to prevent trafficking by its diplomats, although the 2014 anti-trafficking law provided strict sanctions for public officials complicit in trafficking. The government did not make efforts to reduce demand for commercial sex acts. IBESR led efforts to combat child sex tourism; the law required resorts, restaurants, and bars to report any suspected incidents of child sex tourism to IBESR and BPM. No explicit prohibition existed in Haitian law against Haitian nationals engaging in sex tourism abroad.

As reported over the past five years, human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Haiti, and traffickers exploit victims from Haiti abroad. Most of Haiti’s trafficking cases involve children in forced labor and sex trafficking in domestic service, commonly called restavek situations, in which children are often physically abused, receive no payment for services rendered, and have significantly lower school enrollment rates. In 2022, an NGO estimated that of those children in forced labor in domestic service (restavek situations), two-thirds are girls, mostly victims of sex trafficking, and one-third boys, mostly victims of labor trafficking. In 2021, NGOs estimated between 150,000 and 300,000 children worked in domestic servitude. Many children, and a majority of the boys, flee or are cast out of these situations and begin to live and/or work on the street, facing further risk of re-trafficking. The number of children in this situation likely increased in 2020. “Orphanage entrepreneurs” operate unlicensed orphanages that exploit children in trafficking. In October 2021, an NGO estimated that 30,000 children were in approximately 750 orphanages, of which the government had at the time only licensed 35-50. Approximately 80 percent of children in orphanages have at least one living parent, who may place children in an institution deemed more likely to be able to care for them, and almost all have other family members.

Female foreign nationals, especially citizens of the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, are particularly at risk for sex and labor trafficking in Haiti, including on social media. Commercial sex typically takes place in upscale neighborhoods and resort areas to cater to foreigners. Sex trafficking also takes place at the Haiti-Dominican Republic border as Haitians, especially women and girls, seeking job opportunities are instead exploited in commercial sex in the Dominican Republic or for sex tourism. According to NGOs, international child sex tourism also occurs in Haiti, with the primary tourists being from the United States, Canada, and Europe. Emerging practices include “bride-buying,” in which men pay between $100 to $200 to the families of girls as young as 14. Traffickers also target children in private and NGO-sponsored residential care centers; Haitian children working in construction, agriculture, fisheries, domestic work, begging, and street vending in Haiti and the Dominican Republic; internally displaced persons (IDPs), including those displaced by natural disasters and gang violence; those who are stateless or at risk of becoming stateless; Haitian migrants, including those traveling to or returning from the Dominican Republic, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Brazil, Mexico, or the United States; and LGBTQI+ youth often left homeless and stigmatized by their families and society. Risks to migrants significantly increased in 2021 as a function of mass repatriations and increased movement across the Haiti-Dominican Republic border and the high number of migrants attempting to journey to the United States from departure points in South America. Haitian adults and children are at risk for fraudulent labor recruitment and forced labor, primarily in the Dominican Republic, other Caribbean countries, South America, and the United States. Cuban medical workers have had a continuous presence in the country since 1998 and may have been forced to work by the Cuban government. With less than 1 percent of Haiti’s population vaccinated against COVID-19; hospitals closed due to violence, the fuel crisis, or both; and the COVID-19 testing infrastructure either inaccessible or too expensive for average Haitians, the true impact of the pandemic on Haiti is unknown. However, the temporary closure of schools and pressure due to economic difficulties exacerbated vulnerability. A 2022 NGO study concluded that the implementation of the 2014 anti-trafficking law was inadequate and offered several key recommendations, including to train judges and police officers; strengthen the operational capacity of CNLTP by funding it as legally mandated; make legal progress on key cases; investigate cases, and raise public awareness about trafficking. A December 2020 survey found that many Haitians lacked basic knowledge about human trafficking and the resources available to get help; 71 percent of respondents were unable to differentiate between human trafficking and gender-based violence, only 18 percent knew of a phone number to report a suspected trafficking crime, and just 3 percent had heard of the CNLTP.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future