Two Hostages Released in Haiti


Grace Wesselhoft, Staff Writer

Two of the 17 hostages in Haiti were released Sunday and will hopefully be home in time for the holidays. However, the fate of the remaining 15 still hangs in the balance.

Over a month ago–on Oct. 16–16 Americans and a Canadian national were taken captive. Meanwhile, the people in Haiti and the U.S. have continued to try and rescue the people and children who have been taken–taking matters into the hands by appealing to higher government officials, in hopes to return these hostages safely. 

“When I think of Haiti, the first thing I think of is human trafficking,” states Mrs. Lorie Hite, an EHS teacher. “It’s true America has taken a dark turn, and those who once trusted us to help them can no longer be sure that America will protect them, for human trafficking, which is a form of slavery, still plagues our nation.”

Although Hite’s concern is real. The hostage event appears to be more political, as the individuals taken were mostly American missionary from an Ohio-based group. Gang’s leader Wilson Joseph ( known as Lanmò Sanjou) is reported as saying, “death doesn’t know which day it’s coming.” Joseph also threatened to “put a bullet” in the hostages’ heads if his ransom demand of $17 million ($1 million per person) was not paid.

According to the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights in Port-au-Prince, at least 803 people have been abducted between January and October of this year, including at least 54 foreigners. Gédéon Jean, the director of the center, said his group is conducting its own investigation into the missionaries’ kidnapping. Most of these hostages are part of the Mennonite community, serving with Christian Aid Ministries, which provides assistance in education, healthcare and Bible teaching in areas throughout Haiti.

This hostage situation comes on the heels of further unrest in the country. In early July, the Haitian president, Jovenel Moise, was murdered in his home. The country found itself in turmoil while trying to deal with this reality. Many protests broke out, along with much violence and political groups rising to the surface. These outbreaks and riots have still been happening, even after suspects have been taken into custody in possible connections and responsibility for his murder. 

Security and safety has always been a struggle for Haiti. Poverty consuming most of the region and gang violence and related crimes rising since 2015, has caused more than 2% of the population to flee to safer areas. Only a couple weeks after the death of their president, Haiti elected Ariel Henry. The new president of Haiti, according to, says, “He wants to create conditions for as many people as possible to vote in elections.” Henry also said, “It’s time for unity and for stability.” Since the new presidency, Haiti has seen community backlash on the government. Many of them say they don’t trust the government or anyone who works for them. They say the last man who was in charge and tried to change the country got killed for doing just that, changing the country. Now, Ariel Henry has to go against the community in order for there to be safety and security in the country.

All of this happening in just recent months helped lead the country to more trouble. Now, Haiti is suffering from power struggles and large gangs that are in view of taking power. They have begun to take away fuel, food, and medical necessities in order to take over the country. In the midst of this, the missionaries and the U.S. citizens remain pawns in the situation, even after more security was sent over to help assist. 

In hopes to see things change for the better in Haiti, people are continuing to protest and assist the police in any way they can. Both the U.S. and Haitian communities are trying to help one another through these times.