Australian Channel 7’s Sunday Night program in Australia reported on an undercover sting by agents who have been planning a dangerous rescue operation for more than a year.
Thirty child sex slaves in Haiti were rescued in the dangerous and elaborate sting that took place on a luxury yacht in the Caribbean. On-board the yacht, a group of men waited for their party guests to arrive: these so-called guests are girls as young as 10-years-old who have been sold to the group for the evening by human traffickers.
Channel 7’s Sunday Night program reported on the undercover operation and the highly anticipated “party” to be held on the yacht. Unbeknown to the girls, there is no party, because the men on-board who are posing as pedophiles from Australia and the United States are actually undercover agents.
Reporter Matt Doran joined the team from global child rescue agency Operation Underground Railroad together with Australian undercover agents Pete (a father and highly-qualified paramedic) and Vivian (a mother-of-two and former detective) as the well-planned sting took place. Vivian’s part in the operation was to look after the girls as a “groomer,” but Pete’s role was a lot more confronting.
“Part of it is a disgusting part and that’s being one of the pedophiles, and I’m there to party, be one of the party goers and actually pretend that I want to have sex with one of these girls.”
Pete explained that the other part of his role in the “Haiti job” was in his capacity as a medical expert, and that involved overseeing the entire team and making sure that everyone’s health and safety was taken care of.
Vivian’s role was to care for the children once the traffickers had delivered them to the beach resort where the sting was set to take place. She was focused on keeping the girls calm and safe while the sting played out, and before the police moved in.
“What goes through my head is the whole mother instinct; wanting to nurture them, give them a hug and say, ‘It’s going to be OK.’ What’s gut wrenching is I actually don’t know if it’s going to be OK.”
In addition to his role on the boat, Pete was on standby should any medical emergencies occur. He knew that there was a chance the traffickers could bring weapons or become violent when the SWAT team moved in.
“You start to think, ‘OK, what if this was my child? How would I be? What would I feel?’ And it pulls you apart. There’s a temptation for us at times, in our bubble in Australia, to dismiss this as someone else’s problem. We’re different cultures, different races, different countries, but we are all human beings.”
On the day of the sting, the traffickers arrived at a resort with more than 30 young girls, while a yacht was moored in front of the resort. Matt Doran reported that both locations were vital to the success of the operation.
The criminals make their way out to the yacht while the children were ushered into a room with Vivian. Hidden cameras had been set up to record conversations on the yacht, and this information will be used as evidence against the traffickers.
The men were filmed giving high-fives and laughing as they boasted about the tender ages of the children. With so much evidence on tape, the final part of the undercover sting was to get the traffickers back to the resort to collect their money.
One of the agents told the men: “The boss doesn’t give money on the boat – the money’s in the house.” A signal was given immediately once the cash was handed over, and local police stormed into the room with their guns drawn.
In what is being hailed as a very successful sting, at least eight mid-to high-level traffickers were arrested, and 30 children were saved. The rescued girls were taken to high-security safe houses where they will receive trauma counseling, medical treatment, and an opportunity to attend school.
Vivian told Sunday Night that it the feeling to have rescued 30 girls was once of “elation.”
“It’s huge and it’s setting the standard for Haiti now. Children have a right to be free, to be children. They are not commodities. They are not slaves. The kids don’t stand a chance unless someone helps them.”
The elaborate, multi-agency bust was done with the cooperation and approval of federal Haitian police, according to News Australia.
The operation began by infiltrating the dark web, culminating in the take-down of high-level Haitian traffickers linked to the abuse of hundreds of school-age children. The children are treated like commodities, traded to rival gangs and put up for rent or sale in filthy underground Haitian brothels.
Some children are loaded into buses or trucks and smuggled across the border to be used by tourists in the Dominican Republic. Foreigners can buy an hour of their services for just a few Australian dollars.
These poor little children, sex slaves, have spent their formative years servicing the carnal desires of men, typically foreigners, who are so much older than them.
It is understood that these children have much experience with westerners because many of their customers are western humanitarian workers who came to Haiti to help rebuild after the recent run of natural disasters.
The group leading the undercover operation is headed by ex-Special Agent Tim Ballard from the Department of Homeland Security, who today travels the world rescuing trafficked children.
“The problem in Haiti is an international crisis,” Ballard explains.
“With so many children displaced or orphaned during the recent earthquake and hurricane, recruiters moved quickly to sweep these children up. And the worst part of it all is that in many cases the clients are the foreigners who’ve come here to help, the NGO workers and the so-called humanitarians.”
In all, nine traffickers ended up in handcuffs while 30 children were placed into the care of experienced trauma counselors. For many of these children, it is their first taste of freedom for many years.
The majority of their young lives have been spent sleeping on concrete floors in locked, crowded rooms with no windows. But the horror is still not over, because executions are often ordered for girls ready to testify, so these children are protected every moment of every day by heavily armed guards.
And sadly, the heartbreaking product of rape is that some of these young girls are pregnant and others are already raising children themselves.
It is believed that more than five million children worldwide are enslaved, and human trafficking now rivals drugs and guns as one of the fastest growing crimes in the world.
[Featured Image by Lesinka372/Shutterstock]