FBI Warns Americans to Avoid Haiti as Crime Rate Skyrockets by 300%
With kidnappings increasing by 300% over the last year, the FBI has warned visiting Americans to avoid traveling to Haiti.
According to several news outlets, the government agency is concerned with the unrest in Haiti, which has seen a rise in violence, including an American couple who were kidnapped last month while visiting the Caribbean country.
Last month, reports surfaced that the couple was abducted while on their way to Léogâne, approximately 27 miles west of Port-au-Prince. NBC News indicated that Abigail and Jean-Dickens Toussaint never reached their destination. After not hearing from the couple, the family was informed that the pair had been kidnapped and being held for a $6,000 ransom.
A group allegedly ordered the Toussaints off a bus and held them captive, with the ransom amount increasing to $200,000 per person. Nearly a month after the kidnapping, the couple was released on April 13.
“While we understand that there are strong ties between Haiti and South Florida, before traveling there, one should consider the trauma and financial costs of being kidnapped not only to themselves but to their family and friends as well,” FBI Supervisory Special Agent Liz Santamaria warned, according to The Miami Herald.
“The people of Haiti continue to suffer one of the worst human rights crises in decades and a major humanitarian emergency,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said in a recent report to the U.N. Security Council. “With the high number of fatalities and increasing areas under the control of armed gangs, insecurity in the capital has reached levels comparable to countries in armed conflict.”
Earlier this week, a mob in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince beat to death and burned 13 men suspected of being gang members. According to police officers and witnesses, the mob pulled the men from police custody at a traffic stop.
The happenings in Haiti have reached very violent levels in an increasingly lawless situation in Port-au-Prince. Reportedly, criminal gangs have taken over an estimated 60% of the city since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse on July 7, 2021.