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  • Writer's pictureFrantz Alcema,

'Alarming' Rise In Kidnapping Of Haiti Children, Women: UNICEF

Some 300 women and minors were kidnapped in Haiti by criminal gangs in the first half of this year, UNICEF said Monday, warning of a disturbing rise in abductions that leave "deep physical and psychological scars."

That six-month number is close to the total registered for the entirety of last year and is triple the 2021 tally -- "an alarming spike in kidnappings," the United Nations children's agency said, adding that many women and children face "unthinkable terror" at the hands of the pervasive gangs.

"The stories we are hearing from UNICEF colleagues and partners on the ground are shocking and unacceptable," Garry Conille, the agency's regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, said in a statement.

"Women and children are not commodities. They are not bargaining chips. And they must never be exposed to such unimaginable violence." The surge in abductions, he added, threatens "both the people of Haiti and those who have come to help."

Calling the overall situation in Haiti "catastrophic," Conille said almost half the country's population, including nearly three million children, now require humanitarian assistance. He called for "the immediate release and safe return of all those who have been kidnapped."

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