PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Sweden and the U.S. are providing $2.6 million to Haiti to help prevent sexual assaults in the settlement camps that emerged after last year’s earthquake and to fight child trafficking, a foreign aid group said Tuesday.
The International Organization for Migration, or IOM, said it received $1 million from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency to install solar lights in 20 of the more established settlements in the Port-au-Prince area. The funds will also provide counseling and other services for survivors of sexual violence in the camps that house an estimated 680,000 people.
The January 2010 earthquake killed an estimated 300,000 people and displaced 2 million others.
Just as settlements popped up in the quake’s aftermath so did reports of sexual assaults. Relief groups like IOM say survivors of sexual assault often don’t know where to go to report the crime or seek medical attention.
The rest of the money – $1.6 million from the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and UNICEF – will go to combat child trafficking, another problem exacerbated by the quake.
IOM plans to strengthen a project that helps reunite children with their biological parents, some of whom passed off their children to strangers because the earthquake destroyed their livelihoods.