Friday, November 2, 2007

Update on "Zoe's Ark" Orphans

A few days ago I wrote about a French organization called Arche de Zoe, or Zoe's Ark, that tried to smuggle 103 children out of Chad, Africa, in order to take them to "host families" in France.
At the time that I wrote last, it was not known whether Zoe's Ark was legitamitely trying to provide relief to children they believed to be in danger, or whether they were running some sort of child trafficking scheme. Either way, the organization had gone about things wrong. Neither the governments of Chad or Darfur, nor the government of France, had approved the plan for the 103 children to be removed from Africa.
Now, it seems much more likely that they really were running a child trafficking scheme, instead of just making a misguiding attempt to play hero to children they thought were in danger.
The people from Zoe's Ark put bandages on the children in order to make it seem like they were being flown to France to recieve special medical attention.
They also claimed on their website, and told their "host families", that the children were war orphans being rescued from wartorn Darfur, Africa. Instead, it turns out that most of the children were probably from Chad, Africa, and living in fairly safe villages with their families.
Apparently the Zoe's Ark people were so desperate to get children out of Africa that they literally kidnapped them from their villages, promising the children candy and cookies in order to get the children to go with them. (Sounds like "Stranger Danger" to me!)
Now, the children are being cared for in a shelter, with food, medicine, bedding, clothes and toys being provided by UNICEF and the Red Cross. Meanwhile, every effort is being made to find out who the children are and where they come from, so they can be reunited with their loved ones.

If you would like to legitametely help children from Darfur, I suggest going to the website of Waging Peace, an organization that fights genocide and other human rights violations.

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