The life of a Black American couple hangs in the balance as, according to their family, they are being held for ransom in Haiti after being kidnapped while traveling on a bus from Port-au-Prince to visit sick relatives.
According to ABC News, Tamarac, Florida, residents Jean-Dickens Toussaint and his wife, Abigail Toussaint have a one-year-old son who, thankfully was not with them when they were taken from the bus along with a friend of the family who met them at the airport to escort them.
They have not been heard from since March 18.
HI I NEED YOUR HELP PLEASE!!! My Aunt, ABIGAIL TOUSSAINT and my uncle JEAN-DICKENS TOUSSAINT were kidnapped in the Port-au-Prince area in Haiti on Saturday March 18th!!! Can you sign this petition and call your local representatives to do something – https://t.co/0MsjYX6hC8
— CHRISTIE (@christiend06) March 22, 2023
“They stopped the bus at a stop and they asked for the Americans on the bus and their escorts to come off the bus and then they took them,” said Christie, the kidnaped couple’s niece, who declined to give her last name.
Christie told ABC the family learned of the ransom after the family friend who escorted the Toussaints contacted his relatives and said that the kidnappers have upped the amount they want for ransom.
The kidnappers initially demanded $6,000 for the couple’s release, Nikese Toussaint, the sister of Jean Dickens Toussaint, said. Though once they sent the money, the price went up to $200,000 per person, and “we don’t have that type of money,” Christie, the niece, added to WPLG.
“The U.S. Department of State and our embassies and consulates abroad have no greater priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas,” the U.S. Department of State said. “When a U.S. citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they carry out their search efforts, and we share information with families however we can.”
“We have nothing further to share at this time,” the statement added.
It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that this story comes so shortly after the kidnapping of four Black Americans in Matamoros, Mexico, two of whom were found dead. Ironically, the authorities involved in that case believe the Americans, who were reportedly there for a cosmetic procedure, were mistaken for Haitian drug smugglers.
So, now, the State Department advises Americans not to travel to Haiti “due to kidnapping, crime, and civil unrest,” and the Toussaint family, apparently, had already warned their loved ones against traveling there.
“We were very worried when they said they were going, we told them not to go but they wanted to go,” Nikese said.
Our hearts are with Jean-Dickens and Abigail Toussaint and their families. We pray for their safe return and we also want Black American travelers everywhere to be safe.
Here’s a question; is it safe for us anywhere? Mexico? Obviously not. Russia? Nope. Columbia? Apparently not. Greece? Sorry, but no.
Apparently, we’re just as vulnerable abroad as we are at home.