HomeNewsHaiti's Kidnapping Crisis Grows Ever More Desperate in 2022

Kidnappings in Haiti have increased during the first three months of 2022, continuing a grim surge that began last year and may in large part be the result of the country’s economic crisis preventing gangs from making money elsewhere.

From January to March 2022, Haiti registered 225 kidnappings, a 58 percent jump from the 142 during the same period last year, according to a new report by the Haiti-based Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights (Centre d'analyse et de recherche en droits de l'homme – CARDH).

The report provided a detailed geographical breakdown of kidnapping hotspots and actors. It identified the Grand Ravine gang, based in the capital of Port-au-Prince, as the main culprit, stating that the gang and its allies “kidnap at will” in numerous neighborhoods and slums around the city.

SEE ALSO: How a Haiti Suburb Fuelled the Rise of a Formidable Street Gang

Interestingly, the northern Port-au-Prince suburb of Croix-des-Bouquets saw a reduction in the crime. The neighborhood suffered a spree of kidnappings last year that included the abduction of 17 missionaries. Between July and December 2021, 400 Mawozo, the gang that controls Croix-des-Bouquets and took the missionaries, was responsible for 60 percent of kidnappings nationwide. This fell to under 20 percent during the past three months, according to the report. The CARDH noted that the drop was likely due to several members having been killed by authorities and many others having fled the area.

According to the report, fewer foreigners were the subjects of kidnappings in 2022 when compared to last year, although as InSight Crime has noted, this is likely due to most international organizations and charities having suspended operations in Haiti.

While lawlessness and kidnappings have plagued Haiti for years, the power and impunity of street gangs has increased markedly since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021. The ability of gang leaders to influence national decision-making in Haiti became so clear that, in 2021, InSight Crime named as its Criminal Winner Haiti’s most powerful criminal figure, Jimmy Chérizier, alias “Barbecue.”

InSight Crime Analysis

Relations between Haiti’s gangs and its political and business elites are at the core of this kidnapping crisis.

Allies of Jovenel Moïse, the slain president, maintained a business relationship with the G9 and Family (G9 an fanmi), a gang alliance in Port-au-Prince led by Chérizier. A report by Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic revealed how the Moïse government funnelled money, weapons, uniforms and vehicles to gangs like the G9, in exchange for them repressing political opponents, often brutally, and maintaining the peace in poorer neighborhoods.

SEE ALSO: 3 Reasons Why Kidnappings are Rising in Haiti

Moïse’s death saw this source of funding dry up. In July 2021, the month the president was assassinated, Haiti saw 31 registered kidnappings. This soared immediately afterwards to 73, 117 and 140 monthly kidnappings for August, September and October, according to the CARDH report.

Gangs have tried other ways of making money. The multimillion-dollar ransoms demanded by 400 Mawozo for the kidnapped missionaries was one. Those with the clout and resources to do, such as the G9, have been more ambitious. Chérizier paralyzed the country by blocking off access to oil terminals and provoking a fuel crisis, for which he allegedly received a handsome payoff.

But for others, the collapse of regular businesses has seen extortion payments dry up and the departure of foreign organizations has deprived them of more lucrative targets. The average Haitians are paying the cost. According to CARDH, those most commonly targeted for kidnapping are now lawyers, doctors, public officials, students, police officers and small business owners.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


Related Content


The cocaine coming from France's territories of Guadeloupe, Martinique, and French Guiana to its mainland have doubled.


Religious groups are among the final institutions present in Haiti, delivering aid and support to an afflicted population. Unfortunately, that…


Colombian rebels had long been welcome in Venezuela but now, they have arrived in force, bringing conflict with them.

About InSight Crime


Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…


World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…


InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…


Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…


‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…