Operation Voodoo Doll, as told by O.U.R. Founder + CEO Tim Ballard
The Haitian police asked me and my operators to go undercover into Yvrose’s suspected “orphanage” and pretend to be interested in buying children. The police told us that if they were, in fact, selling kids, to purchase them. Once we had enough evidence, they would be able to take this place down and hopefully find Gardy inside.
Within ten minutes of entering the facility, we witnessed the brutal conditions these kids were living in. I saw a guy carrying a whip right when we walked in. They called him the “teacher”. Almost all of the kids appeared impoverished and in the early stages of starvation.
Yvrose, the woman who directed this atrocity, stated clearly at our first meeting that their business didn’t run like a normal orphanage. “You know you can’t adopt kids here right? We sell kids,” she blatantly said to us. “You can buy any kid. They’re $10,000 each, no questions asked. Please follow my advice on how to get the kids out of the country and evade the police.”
These kids weren’t documented. There was no evidence that they even existed, there was no legal process by which she got them, she just gathered them. Especially after the 2010 earthquake, many kids were left abandoned with no home to return to. Well-intentioned people took many of these abandoned kids to local “orphanages” like this one, thinking it was safe. The scenario often goes something like this: A smiling, happy woman greets them at the front to take the kids in. Then, the door shuts, and they sell the kids out the back door to traffickers. This is a technique that criminals use all over the world.
So, we went back to the police and confirmed that Yvrose offered to sell us kids illegally. We worked with the police to set up the next stage of the operation: go in again, undercover, to complete the deal with Yvrose. Once she accepted the money, the police would come in and arrest her and rescue the children before they were sold into slavery.
We hadn’t seen Gardy in our inital meeting with Yvrose, but we prayed we would catch a glimpse of him upon our return.