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Feb 25, 2011

Jamelia’s biological mother says she was tricked by U.S. national


The story of human trafficking victim Jamelia has been in the news since we reported it on Monday of this week. Jamelia was reportedly sold off to a U.S. national and ended up as a forced laborer in Fresno, California. She lived in Belize up to the age of eleven years and is twenty-three. Her biological father and a woman who raised her have given their side of the story. We followed the paper trail and found her biological mother today who sheds some light as to how Jamelia ended up in the United States. Karen Baptist had nine other children, including Erica Wills who was found murdered in 1999; a dark period when four other young girls were murdered, but their killer was never found. News Five’s Delahnie Bain had a sit down with Baptist as well Shelmadine Daly, a friend who also handed over two sons to the U.S. National.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

There have been many sides to the story of Belizean Human Trafficking victim, Jamelia. Today, her biological mother, Karen Baptist, finally got to give her version; starting with the decision to give Jamelia to a friend, Yvonne Estrada, when she was a baby. Baptist says she had five children at the time and was living in a small house with her mother-in-law.

Karen Baptist, Jamelia’s Biological Mother

Karen Baptist

“Yvonne does work with my elder sister dah di coop and due to my sista mek I get fi know she. She tell ah dat—mussy explain my situation to ah and den she and ih husband neva have no kids because if dehn mi have kids, I no mi wah give no couple my children have kids. Why I noh mi wah give dehn dah because I noh want dehn ill-treat mines.”

She soon started hearing rumors that Estrada was impatient with Jamelia and eventually left the child with her mother to go to the U.S.

Karen Baptist

“When I does go dah di ma goh look fi my daughter, dehn noh even want I si my daughter, like dehn di hide ah. I can’t even go fi my daughter fi spend time wid me from dehn. Wah day—I noh know weh dehn do my daughter—my daughter mi eleven cause dehn raise ah all dah time. But when she get big and got ih correct sense, she know ih mah noh wah do she weh dehn do ah and she come back to me. When she come back to me dehn bring police and all, dehn even gone through Social and di Social people tell dehn plain, di mother have all rights because she is the biological mother.”

That’s when Baptist’s friend, Shelmadine Daly, introduced her to a woman known as Michelle Bartoli, a U.S. national. Daly also entrusted her two sons to Bartoli due to illness and says Jamelia chose to go with her to help her mom.

Karen Baptist

“She come and ih tell me dat di lady dah wah nice lady and ih wah treat my daughter good and ih wah give ah weh I can’t give ah. So I feel so happy. I can’t give ah weh I want. I want give ah wah good education, I want si good come out ah all ah my children. So I get dah opportunity and I go for it.”

Shelmadine Daly, Gave Sons to US National

Shelmadine Daly

“I end up give my sons to her because I wasn’t capable of doing it because at that time I was very, very ill and I neva had nobody fi tek care ah my kids and I neva want Social tek my kids dem. So I prefer fi give she so dat I could go si my baby dem back and forth. I mi can’t walk none at all and I end up give her di baby dehn.  The day that lady came and asked Karen if ih could tek Jamelia and Karen didn’t want her to go and she cry and cry and cry and throw herself down on the floor and tell ih ma dat dehn noh have nothing. Ih seh at least me could go better myself so I could help you. But dah lady neva give Karen not even one dollar. People need fi stop lie; ih neva sold that little girl, ih neva get wah dollar. I mi deh deh.”

But the women say they were led to believe that their children would live in Placencia, where they would be able to visit as they wished…that is until Bartoli took them on a permanent vacation.

Shelmadine Daly

“I know that she mi live dah Placencia and she tell me dat she go back and forth to the United States. She mi wah ker my kids dem but noh mek I worry bout nothing, it would be no problem because I still wah si my son dehn.  I did expect her to take them for a visit and bring them back but she lied to me. I would just want my kids back because then dah wah big lie she put to me. Now I good, I could take care ah my kids dem.”

Karen Baptist

“Although I mi send my daughter, I mi still fear fi my daughter. I mi still fear because I noh know dis woman to dat extent, only through my friend and I di trust ah wid my daughter fi just better off at least one ah my kids, mek dehn get weh I can’t give dehn. If I mi know dat dah woman deh, dah mi di woman weh dehn seh ih be, she noh even mi wah got no kinda dealings wid my pickney none at all. None.”

Since 1999, Baptist and Daly have only spoken to their children once; eight years ago when a friend found Jamelia on the internet.

Karen Baptist

“I seh Jamelia yoh si why I neva want yoh go dah states wid dis lady because now look weh di happen to yoh and I noh deh, deh. yoh can’t get to me, I can’t get to you.”

Delahnie Bain

“So there was no way you could have tried to get her back then?”

Karen Baptist

“Well, yoh si eena my situation, I neva know how.”

Shelmadine Daly

“She send me di number and immediately after, I call my son and I talk to ah. Ih seh hi and dis lady just tek weh di phone back and ih seh hi and dis lady just tek weh di phone. And ih seh Cameron is going to take a bath and she hung up di phone. And so I seh maybe I knock off something pan my phone so I try call her back and they never answered the phone anymore.”

Recently, Jamelia has been in contact with her sisters in Belize via text message. We were shown some saying that she clarified with authorities in the U.S. that Baptist was not the person to be charged, but Bartoli is.  There were others in which she expressed that her father, whom we know only as “Patterson” should stay out of it, since he was never there for her. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

Daly says she hasn’t been able to find out if her sons, Cameron and Jaylen, suffered the same treatment as Jamelia. As for Karen Baptist, she is also known as Karen Wills and Karen Hinds.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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13 Responses for “Jamelia’s biological mother says she was tricked by U.S. national”

  1. Robert says:

    Sounds like mama’s lying to me. What did she do with her other girl, who was murdered about the same time by “Jack”? I think she needs to be put on a lie detector.

  2. RadicalBelizean says:

    Very sad story. Its a shame that we can have US nationals come to Belize and exploit our people like this due to their desperate situation. It is despicable that those born in privileged societies feel a sense of entitlement to go around the world picking up children like pets. These women are good example of why young women in Belize really need to take control of their fertility and plan their family otherwise they become even more vulnerable to exploitation from men and now it seems even the human traffickers and in the end their children suffer.

    Word to the men: Start looking out for your offsprings; too many men excuse themselves from their role as a responsible father in Belize. The government need to pass some radical laws to enforce the responsibility of parenting. However I won’t hold my breathe because some in government have glass window. Start caring for our children, and educating these women about having so many births (9?) its ridiculous. This what keep people in poverty for generations. Even multi millionaires have only one or two.

  3. Josie says:

    The mother needs to reach out to her daughter, she needs her now and Ms. Baptist here’s a message to you, LOVE your children no matter how hard and frustrating times get, the grass is not greener on the other side of the pasture. AMERICA is not what it portrays, you come to this god forsaken country and you work harder than you think because people over here think you are stupid so you have to prove them wrong. AGAIN LOVE YOUR CHILDREN AND GIVE THEM A HUG EVERY DAY

  4. rod says:

    this mother should be put in jail for selling her daughter.

  5. Disgusted! says:

    I am still trying to comprehend the mentality of these two sorry @$$,, poor excuse for mothers who concieveD and give birth to children they consider disposable. Instead of seeking help from family or the Social Services, or even weighing other options, these two shameless walruses opted to give their children away to a complete stranger who probably promised them great rewards in return. Since when does 11 year old kids make their own decisions concerning their timid lives?????? It appears that if the little girl had told her she wanted to be a prostitute, she probably would have said “Yes” to that too. Of course they couldn’t provide for all those kids. Obviously, from their sizes, they were too busy eating everything that moves. One less mouth to feed meant they could gorge their fat @$$e$ more into morbid obesity!!!! SHAMEFUL AND DISGUSTING!!!! THEY SHOULD BOTH BE CHARGED AND JAILED FOR COMPLICITY TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND RECKLESS CHILD ABANDONMENT AND ENDANGERMENT!!!!!!!!

  6. BZNinCALI says:

    Disgusted!, harsh but I agree with you 100%. In the 90s Belize had an excellent birth control promo on TV, Birth Control was free to anyone who wanted it. I guess these two missed it. The description we used back in the day was ‘Give weh dey pickney like puppy’.

    We have to lose the mindset that anything & anyone is better than our own. While there are many good Americans & white folks many of whom are genuine in their desire to help, some are not & we have to stop grinning like idiots & acting like we are simple & make them follow the protocols set up by their Government & ours to ensure our children’s well being before & after they are removed from our soil. Some may fall through the cracks, these children did not have a living soul looking out for their interests at any step, their parents simply opened the door.

    The 23 year old needs counseling, she was given away as an infant, allowed to make the decision to leave with a total stranger at 11, lived as a slave or indentured servant for years. She has no say in who should be prosecuted & she needs to understand that she is not responsible for these worthless adults who misused her. Everyone of these #**%ers should go to jail & banned from being anywhere near children for life.

    Ms Daly, I don’t know if your illness was real or imagined, many of us had mothers/parents who struggled & made a lot of sacrifices so that our lives would be better & did so without giving us away. Belizeans are a lot of things but most are still kind & good, a little humility goes a long way & we will reach out to help those willing to help themselves. After suffering a debilitating stroke, my mother fought like hell to get back on her feet, our neighbors made sure we never went hungry or missed a day of school & my parents family made sure they held us together. Hopefully your story will open up the eyes of other young women & you kept the shop closed or took control of access to it & treated your reproductive organs with respect after the worthless father(s) failed you & those children.

  7. eightoften says:

    Strange that a guy with surname ‘Baptist’ was arrested and suspected of being ‘Jack’ and now this woman’s surname is ‘Baptist’. Hmmm strange coincidence I guess.

  8. peter's hope says:

    @Disgusted, you are on point and really its a serious matter, but boy you mademe laugh; ”eating themselves into morbid obesity”, man you have a way with words. But on a serious note, they are a bit overweight and kinda shameless.

  9. soldier says:

    Whic belizean law firm,or lawyer sign this deal to sell this poor belizean youn girl?behind every dirt scam in belize is a LAWYER.every filty deal is done in belize by one of those criminal lawyer with a lawdgree.when will be belizeans get it?the CANCER that is eating belize is called”lawyers”law firms”and this cancer has to be attack with no mercy,we have to get rid of them in any ways possible.

  10. Concern Citizen says:

    The qusetion everyone should be asking is how tyhis woman left the country with these children.
    I am living in the U.S I went through alot to bring my tw year old daughter I needa letter fro her father to get her passport and a letter from her dad to get her Visa they refuse to give me her passport without a letter from hi stating that he gave me permission to take her. These women had to sign some type of documnetation how did dhe get their birth papers etc etc This just doesnt ADD Up

  11. truth_B_Told says:

    Well this is my take on the situation it took 12yrs for this girl to come out and say she was being used in such way which means ……………………… Also I’m not saying it’s not a sad story but which 11yr old can make up their mind to go to america but cant make up their mind to tell or seek help from being used in such way………….. In all honesty the mother does have alot of skeletons she is hiding also because i have never heard of mother giving away a daughter thats 11yrs old specially after the whole “JACK” spree………… Being accountable is wat she needs to start doing ask her how she was living for the time her daughter was gone ? n if she didnt hear from her in so long Y d hell didnt she become more inquisitive about the situation ? But i guess she got rid of a baggage n now she is on the hot seat so she became the mother again………..

  12. GOD FEARING youth says:

    The silence in being broken. This is not the first case of Human Trafficking we have so much more right in our own back yard. Lets wake up Belizean this is noting new.

    I hope that this story will cause other girls and women to speak out. visit this website and see what this organization in Belize is doing to combat Human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Belize.

  13. GOD FEARING youth says:

    truth_B_Told cases like these are not easy to come out of, children are usually treated and beaten, they have no freedom. it’s not as easy as you may think

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