UNICEF Issues Warning Against Relaxing Adoption Procedures for Haitian Children in Light of Trafficking Fears

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) announced Friday that several children have gone missing from hospitals in Haiti in the aftermath of the killer earthquake, raising fears of trafficking for adoption abroad.

"We have documented let's say around 15 cases of children disappearing from hospitals and not with their own family at the time," UNICEF adviser Jean Luc Legrand said.

The UN agency said it expected trafficking networks to spring into action, taking advantage of weakened local authorities to kidnap children and eventually getting them out of the country.

The United Nations Children's Fund warns children in earthquake stricken Haiti are at risk of being trafficked by unscrupulous adults. UNICEF says it is setting up so-called welcome centers where children, particularly unaccompanied children, can go and be safe.

The UN Children's Fund says even before the catastrophic earthquake struck, children in Haiti were at great risk of being trafficked. It says there is documented evidence showing many children have been taken out of the country illegally.