Haiti, like many countries, relies heavily on private security companies to protect people and property. However, while the private security industry has a vital role to play in stabilizing the country, it has long functioned without effective government oversight. Haiti’s security sector reform (SSR) process has begun to address this shortcoming. The paper analyzes the current state of the private security industry in Haiti and the legal framework under which it operates, and makes recommendations for how a reformed legal and regulatory regime can guide the next phase of its development, based on interviews with owners and agents of private security companies, industry associations, senior Haitian police personnel, United Nations (UN) planners and parliamentary leaders. The paper concludes that genuine consultation and partnership between the government, industry and civil society is required, if SSR programs in Haiti and elsewhere are to successfully marshal private resources towards the public good.

Authored by prominent practitioners in the field, policy makers, academics and informed observers, the SSR Issue Papers series combines analysis of current problems and challenges, and examines thematic and geographic topics relating to the most pressing SSR issues.