Americans Caught Trying to Take Children from Haiti

Ten Americans have been arrested in what looks to be an illegal adoption scheme

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In "good grief" news, ten Americans have been arrested by Haitian authorities for trying to traffic thirty-three children out of Haiti.

Authorities fear traffickers could try to exploit the chaos and turmoil following Haiti's January 12 earthquake quake to engage in illegal adoptions.

But one of the suspects, who says she is leader of an Idaho-based charity called New Life Children's Refuge (NCLR), denies they have done anything wrong.

The five men and five women are in custody in the capital Port-au-Prince after their arrests on Friday night.

They were detained at Malpasse, Haiti's main border crossing with the Dominican Republic, after Haitian police conducted a routine search of their vehicle.

Authorities said the Americans had no documents to prove they had cleared the adoption of the 33 children - aged 2 months to 12 years - and no papers showing the children were made orphans by the quake.

Yves Cristalin, Haiti's social affairs minister, says the incident is "totally illegal".

"No children can leave Haiti without proper authorisation and these people did not have that authorisation," he said.

But Laura Sillsby from the Idaho group NCLR says the group has done nothing wrong.

"We had permission from the Dominican Republic Government to bring the children to an orphanage that we have there," she said.