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Perilous life of Haiti's border children

MiamiHerald / Child protection specialists throw out one question after another, while offering street descriptions and city names in their quest for clues, as the soft-spoken boy sits quietly at a play table.

Uncooperative and seemingly evasive, the boy, who says his name is Jefferson Joseph, rests his head between his clenched fists. After a few seconds, he finally offers up a first and last name, and then his age. But over the next few minutes, the 6-year-old provides a confusing list of nicknames for his dad, and a city name that none of the workers has heard of.

“Your dad, what is his name?” asks Michelot Difficile. “Tonton? Tonton what?”

Difficile works on the Haiti-Dominican border with the International Organization for Migration, which helps Haiti’s child welfare agency, the Institut du Bien-Être Social et de Recherches, or IBESR , reunite abandoned and separated children with their families. The United Nations’ agency also monitors trafficking along the border.

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