Haiti experiences several misfortunes: earthquakes, poverty, diseases, unavailability of clean water, and now the prevalence of child slavery. At times, poor families leave one or more of their children to become a child slave, known in Haiti as restaveks. It is estimated that 1 in every 10 Haitian children are restaveks. Parents force their young children to perform domestic labor, while promising to provide the child with food, schooling, and shelter. The number of orphans in the nation greatly exceeds the number of restaveks, due to several orphanages promising to provide the abandon children with schooling and housing. Some relate these practices to the slave era when African families were forcibly torn apart. One issue can be expressed by the popularity of child slavery and abundance of parent-less children – Haiti’s family structure stands disoriented. It is important to emphasize the importance of family in Haiti so future generations will not suffer from emotional health disorders. There is a positive side to this story, the WWO ( Worldwide Orphans Foundation) organizes summer sports camps; and IDEJEN( a organization sponsored by USAID which aids out-of-school age children) helps young adults find employment and prepares them for family life.
Alexis N. Davis
International Action Intern


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