At least nine people were arrested in the framework of a joint operation between the Chilean police and Interpol against a transnational organization in charge of making hundreds of Haitian migrants cross the border heading north. Among those affected are 267 Chilean children who are children of Haitian descendants.
Chile struck a heavy blow against migrant smuggling at a time when the Haitian refugee crisis in Latin America is on the brink. At least nine people were arrested on charges of being part of a criminal organization that was in charge of crossing Haitian migrants and their children through illegal border crossings to the north.
The data handled by the Chilean police and Interpol affirm that more than 1,000 Haitian migrants residing in Chile crossed the border into Peru illegally thanks to this organization. It is especially worrying that, of those more than a thousand people, 267 were minors, children of Haitians, but with Chilean nationality.
The detection of these minors at border crossings in Central American countries and in Mexico was what triggered the alarms. The head of the metropolitan police brigade against human trafficking, Giordano Lanzarote, assured that since 2020 they have received numerous alerts from migration officials of other nations who claimed to locate children under five years of age of Chilean nationality, but with Haitian descent. .
These children crossed numerous Latin American borders alone or with false parents into the United States, conditions that made them under extreme situations.
Behind this network was a Haitian citizen who coordinated the transfer of people in exchange for profit along with four Chileans, two Venezuelans, a Peruvian and a Paraguayan. All of them were brought to justice and imprisoned on a preventive basis.
A journey from Chile to the United States
Thousands of Haitian migrants have lived in Chile and Brazil since the great earthquake of 2010 destroyed a large part of what they had in Haiti. In these two countries they tried to reestablish their lives for years, but they found very harsh conditions exacerbated by racism and the lack of job opportunities available to them. In many cases, speaking a different language was a big problem in finding something stable.
Their situation worsened with the arrival of the pandemic, since many of them did not have regulated contracts and with the confinement they began to suffer hunger because they could not go out to earn a living. It is at this time when a migratory flow begins to the north, specifically the United States.
These families often left with practically nothing and with the uncertainty of not knowing if they could cross the next border. In many cases they went with their children, who already had Chilean nationality because they were born in this southern country. The harsh conditions of the trip caused members of these families to die, leaving the children without anyone.
“It is horrible to think what these vulnerable children have suffered, some as young as a few years,” said Jürguen Stock, Interpol’s secretary general.
This illegal network also trafficked with Venezuelan migrants who made the journey in reverse and came from Venezuela to enter Chile.
The migration issue of the Haitian population residing in South America is one of the most worrisome on the continent. Thousands of these people have spent months crossing thousands of kilometers in limited health and safety conditions to reach the United States. A fact that for most of them will not be possible.
The North American country staged a great rejection of these migrants at its border in Texas, deporting a significant number of them to Haiti. Some of these people decided to go back to Mexico in the face of the American refusal, something that could lengthen their journey even more.
With AP, Reuters and AFP