Haitian President Rene Preval has appealed for an end to a spate of abductions targeting children.
In a Christmas address, he called on gangs to give young people "a chance", or face police action.
It is thought the children have been taken by criminals or their own relatives who have used the ransom money to buy Christmas presents.
Last month, a boy of seven was killed and mutilated because his parents were too poor to pay a small ransom demand.
More than 40 people have been abducted in the past two months alone.
Although kidnappings have gone up in the past few weeks the number of victims is a fraction of the 225 reported kidnapped this time last year, says the BBC's Andy Gallagher.
In 2005 the figure was more than 300.
In the past few days the Haitian police have arrested eight kidnappers, including a suspected ringleader who was identified by the nickname "Pharaoh".
President Rene Preval was handing out Christmas gifts to disabled children when he made the appeal.
"End these kidnappings," he said. "This has to stop.
"Gangs, for me, please give the kids a chance," Mr Preval said.
"If you don't give the kids a chance, [the police] will make you."
Haitian police are currently searching for at least five missing children.
Among them was a young girl last seen being taken on a boat from the southern peninsula town of Jeremie and a boy whose family was given an ultimatum to pay $30,000.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/a ... 158802.stm
Published: 2007/12/24 07:43:58 GMT
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