Monica Petersen (July 2, 1984 – November 13, 2016) was a scholar-activist committed to serving the dispossessed and a clear and critical voice in the human trafficking field. Petersen moved to Haiti reportedly to investigate human trafficking. Petersen died in Haiti by hanging on November 13th, 2016, under what many, including Petersen's own family, have claimed to be mysterious circumstances.
- 1 Moderator's Note
- 2 Early life
- 3 Career
- 4 Haiti and Petersen's Investigation into the Caracol Industrial Complex and the Morne Bossa/VCS Mining Facility
- 5 Death
- 6 Aftermath and ongoing debate
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
There has been little media investigation of Petersen's case, so many of the facts are sourced via what appear to be screen-capped Facebook posts, in particular those from Petersen's friend "Bella." Bella's statements on Facebook are attributed to Petersen as though they are her own words. Presumably that "Bella" is Bella Robinson, based on the Washington Post article discussed below and as interviewed in this Vice article. Snopes.com has stated "Monica Petersen may have been critical of the Clinton Foundation's work in Haiti (although the evidence presented comes from secondary sources and not from Petersen herself), but there's no evidence linking the Clintons to her death," which is fundamentally true. The purpose of this website is not to be the final investigation itself, but to call for professionals to further investigate leads brought to light here, including whether Petersen's death was related to her research into human trafficking in Haiti and any role the Clintons or their foundation may have played in that trafficking or Petersen's death.
Petersen was a graduate of the Korbel School. She was previously a research intern at the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking (LCHT) and was a Research Fellow and Assistant Director at the Human Trafficking Center (HTC). She also worked for the Colorado Human Trafficking Council’s Data & Research Task Force.
Petersen had been researching human trafficking for a long time. She wrote a blog post in 2014 called Root Causes and Contradictions of the Displaced Youth along the U.S./Mexico Border. She testified along with Prof. Claude d’Estree in front of the Colorado-Senate Committee on human trafficking matters. She had also given presentations in the field of human trafficking.
Haiti and Petersen's Investigation into the Caracol Industrial Complex and the Morne Bossa/VCS Mining Facility
On January 3rd, 2016, Petersen shared with Robinson some of her findings based on her field work in Haiti up to that point. By this time she had already become aware of corruption by the Clintons in Haiti or as she put it, "start[ed] to connect the dots on what I already suspected". In fact, she was getting ready to dive in full time:
Ms. Clinton has corrupt & dirty business to finish in Haiti ... This is the theory my master's thesis puts forth... this is modern structural slavery.
Robinson re-shared this post by Petersen to a Facebook group to which she belonged.
In that same post, Petersen also links to a blog post discussing similar claims. The blog is written by Haitian native, Chantal Laurent, and the specific post Petersen provided is called Hillary Clinton's Scandalous Conduct in Haiti: Charity Begins at Home.[Archived Version] The day after, on January 4th, 2016, Petersen again shared with Robinson some more of her findings:
But the real significance of this scandal for me, I know you feel me Bella, is the link to contemporary slavery and trafficking. I can't say to what extent, but there is human trafficking happening through the Clinton's Caracol Complex.
Also in that same post, Petersen expresses interest in investigating the Morne Bossa mining facility, which is owned by VCS Mining, a company which Hillary's brother, Tony Rodham, sits on the board of. ) The Facebook post includes the link to another post that is on the blog, Mining Awareness, entitled Haiti Morne Bossa Gold Missing!?.[Archived Version] That blog would repost information from this investigation when they became aware of Petersen's death and, thus, seemingly support the ongoing work researchers are doing here.[Archived Version] Also, one of the Podesta emails discusses Tony Rodham "hustling gold mining deals" which is likely related to this mining facility.
Petersen died on November 13th, 2016, by apparent hanging. However many, including Monica's own mother, suspect foul play.[For citation, copy and paste the following link and change the "+" to an "i", https://v+d.me/gcj6#10m24s]
On November 13th, 2016, the Center on Human Rights Education posted a message on their Facebook page announcing the passing of one of their colleagues, Monica Petersen:
"I am heartbroken to report that Monica Petersen died today in Haiti. She was a recent graduate of the Korbel School, a Research Fellow and an Assistant Director at the Human Trafficking Center, and had moved to Haiti to teach and start an NGO. Monica was a scholar-activist committed to serving the dispossessed and a clear and critical voice in the human trafficking field. She was also a dear friend and colleague to many of us. I will post the time and date of a memorial service soon." --Prof. Claude d'Estrée
Monica's memorial service was streamed live on Nov. 18th and covered live here. Her boss/professor Claude d'Estree said (beginning 39:30 mark of the stream): "(She) decided to take on one of the demagogues in the field of human trafficking." "Produced a 110-page analysis of human trafficking in Haiti - 2 years of research." "We were looking for someone who was smart enough and maybe brave enough to publish her work" "I will continue to seek out and publish it for her" "We are in a state of shock. We may never know what exactly happened to her"
Aftermath and ongoing debate
The Washington Post ("WaPo") article, ‘Pizzagate’ rumors falsely link death of sex-worker activist to nonexistent Clinton probe, published on December 6, 2016, by Glenn Kessler, provides several statements by Prof. Claude D'Estree and others which seem to be misleading or completely untrue based on available evidence.
Petersen had gone to Haiti a number of times, but she was not there to research human trafficking and was not investigating the Clinton Foundation.
The first part of this statement goes against Petersen's own Facebook page:
I am a social anthropologist who wants do solid research on HT [human trafficking], rescuing people is not in my agenda (this is a stupid & imperialist concept)
WaPo also acknowledged:
Indeed, Petersen was active in promoting sex-worker rights.
The first part of D'Estree's statement would also directly conflict with D'Estree's own remarks at Petersen's memorial service, discussed further above.
However, using those statements to say that Petersen was not in Haiti to investigate the Clinton Foundation, is misleading. It is likely true that Petersen did go to Haiti to promote sex workers rights. However, when Petersen got to Haiti itself, based on her Facebook posts, over time her prerogative seemed to have changed or expanded. Assuming Robinson's alleged repost of Petersen's statements was real - it is clear that Petersen intended to investigate the Clinton's links to human trafficking in the final statements Petersen made to Robinson before she died. Even the WaPo article seems to accept this to be true:
An acquaintance named Bella Robinson, a sex worker in Rhode Island, in January had posted a blog post that Petersen had shared on Facebook that had been critical of the Clinton Foundation’s work in Haiti.
Regarding the cause of Petersen's death, WaPo used the statements of Domina Elle, a "Denver-based dominatrix who was a close friend of Petersen" [Moderator's Note: No, you cannot make this stuff up] who said:
[Petersen] had committed suicide. She left a note. She felt overwhelmed by a number of things that weren't panning out in Haiti. I wish she would've told someone but she didn't. The only person who knew was her BF who had flown to the states for her father's funeral. He is devastated. Many people are in shock.
This statement goes against what Claude D'Estree stated in Petersen's memorial service where there still appears to be a lack of clarity regarding how Petersen died. D'Estree's statement was specifically:
We may never know what exactly happened to [Petersen].
Monica's own mother are among those that speculate that Petersen's suicide was not legitimate (what some would call "suicided").[For citation, copy and paste the following link and change the "+" to an "i", https://v+d.me/gcj6#10m24s] Individuals claiming to be Petersen's friends also say they speculate that it was not suicide, but murder. Whether Petersen died by murder or suicide, this would require further investigation by professionals to clarify, likely beginning with an examination of the body and an autopsy. It is unclear whether Petersen's family has her body yet.
Claude d'Estree, Petersen's friend and colleague perhaps most outspoken against statements saying she was investigating the Clinton Foundation, worked in the US Attorney's office on behalf of DynCorp between 1999-2002 in Reston, Virginia.(Page where CV originated) DynCorp itself has been linked with child sexual abuse several times, including one explosive scandal in Bosnia in 1999 (which is the same era when d'Estree worked for the contractor).
Statements by Reddit user "rutkdn"
Reddit user "rutkdn" is the creator of the Reddit thread that collected all information regarding Petersen. He/she has made the following statements, which are impossible to verify independently:
It was not immediately clear under what circumstances she died, and this remains so to this day. As of today, Nov. 22nd, the family has not received Monica's body. Although the family held a Memorial Service on Friday, Nov. 18th, there was no proper funeral/burial for Monica. The family is relying on information coming out Haiti and has not had the chance to conduct a proper autopsy in the US.
Correction NOV 28 - a good friend of Monica confirmed to me in private that she was murdered. Authorities in Haiti are still not giving the family any indication of who murdered Monica.
I have been contacted by 3 different people all claiming to be good friends with Monica with the sole purpose of trying to discredit the link to the Clintons. They mostly did so by attacking Bella, while ignoring the fact that she simply shared these posts 10 MONTHS AGO with no agenda other than to spread the word to her friends in a small Facebook group. They claim now that Bella is seeking fame, yet the exact opposite is true - Bella is trying to distance herself as much as possible from all this. Those 3 people seem very adamant in conveying the fact that they know for a fact Monica's death is not related to her research activity in Haiti. Yet, at the same time, admit that the family has NOT EVEN SEEN Monica's body.