Since we published our first coverage on the Children of Haiti, the situation is improving slowly, too slowly. In fact UNICEF is counting more than 3850 children orphans, runaways or beaten living in the streets of Port-au-Prince. Another organization: ” The Institute for Human and Community Development (IHCD), acts as “a bridge from slavery and marginalization to a productive and humane future for Restavek children, by providing accredited education, health & psychological care, nutritional food, and adult human rights training.”
From Haiti: by Samy Tchenko. January 25th 2010
They’ll never make headlines, and yet, they are at the front line of despair…..
Entangled in the Haitian social fabric far before the earthquake. According to the UN, one out of ten Haitian Children are caught in the “restavek” system (child domestic slavery). Below any scrutiny, the practice grew at the same rate as the Haitian poverty-implacably fast. The poorest rely on the wealthy to raise their kids, often in exchange for monetary compensation.
Unknown to the world, “restavek” violates the Haitian Constitution which pioneered abolition, making slavery illegal nearly sixty years before the United States.
Yet, it’s an embarrassing reality of modern-day Haiti, tirelessly combatted by the Haitian Limyè Lavi Organization. Their mission is to end this inferno with very little help, and contend with lots of hurdles due to the complexity of the situation.
On the surface, it appears like a foster home arrangement in which the child is enrolled in a school and is a part of the family. “In practice, this rarely happens: the child’s day is filled with chores, and even the youngest children are expected to fetch heavy buckets of water, hand-wash clothes, carry loads to and from the marketplace, and work in the fields– often working 14-hour days for no pay.” reports Free the Slaves, the Washington-based organization that relentlessly tracked slavery cases all around the world. Their concern- an estimated one million orphans who lost their families are at grave risk of ending up defenseless, bound and abused in the restavek system, or sold abroad.
More than ever, it is paramount to break the taboo, relay the information and fight children trafficking