Port-au-Prince, Haiti (CNN) — Ten Americans detained and accused of child trafficking in Haiti after they allegedly tried to bus 33 children into the Dominican Republic insist their effort was an attempt to get the children to a shelter.
But Haiti’s prime minister said Sunday that the group was kidnapping the children.
“From what I know until now, this is a kidnapping case,” Jean-Max Bellerive told CNN. “Who is doing it — I don’t know. What are the real objectives or activities — I don’t know. But that is kidnapping and it is more serious because it’s involving children,” he said.
“The children certainly were not fully willing to go, because in some cases, from what I heard, they were asking for their parents, they wanted to return to their parents.”
U.S. embassy officials visited the Americans over the weekend at a jail near the airport in Port-au-Prince, where they are being detained. They are being treated well and are holding on to their faith, the Americans said.
“We came into Haiti to help those that really had no other source of help,” Laura Silsby, a member of the Idaho-based charity, New Life Children’s Refuge, told CNN on Saturday.
“We are trusting the truth will be revealed and we are praying for that.”