The U.S State Department recently released its 2023 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report. There was very limited progress addressing TIP including domestic servitude (restavek). This is hardly surprising given insecurity, weak governance, natural disasters, inflation and increased food insecurity. Haiti was not downgraded to Level 3 because it developed a written plan that could at least provide a foundation for future efforts.
Since 2004, MINUSTAH has played a central but controversial role in maintaining stability in Haiti. However, MINUSTAH should not and is not going to be in Haiti forever. The International Crisis Group (ICG) describes steps that can prepare Haitian authorities for when they are fully in the lead without MINUSTAH support. Key to this effort will be doubling the number of police, with adequate vetting and training, so greater responsibility can be transferred to them over time. Until then, all plans for reconstituting the army should be tabled. A summary follows below.
While fragile politically, Haiti is much safer than media coverage suggests. Any violent crime mainly takes place in Port au Prince. Even there, homicide rates are decreasing (now at 3 per 100,000 people in three selected areas) vs. 52 per 100,000 people in Jamaica, generally viewed as a favorable tourism destination. Even Costa Rica has a higher rate than Haiti at 11 homicides per 100,000 people. Below is an article by Trenton Daniel on the decreasing homicide rate in Haiti's largest city. To court investment and tourism, Haiti needs to rebrand itself as historically, culturally, and artisticly rich as well as safe.
The International Crisis Group has released a report on the importance of police reforms for security in Haiti, meaning freedom from intimidation and abuse, conflict and violence, and crime and impunity. The release comes during a time in which Brazil and other partner nations are increasingly contemplating a gradual drawdown of MINUSTAH staffing. This provides the Haitian government and its partners a window of opportunity to continue reforms that will make the Haitian National Police more effective and accountable. The full report is attached and a summary is copied below.
Haiti is in the midst of a cholera outbreak, the origin of which is and may remain unclear. We live in a mobile world and the source could be Africa, Asia, South America, or it may have already been in the environment. Where it came from is less important than the fact that Haiti, and especially the poorest of the poor, will always be vulnerable without clean water, adequate sanitation, and good hygiene. This is an update on the current cholera emergency and a reflection on actions that can prevent this from happening again.