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What is a Restavec?

Posted by on Jan. 18, 2010 at 10:58 AM
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Restavecs work many hours and receive no funding in return. These children do not enjoy the luxuries of playing outside and acting as a child their age would. They work in horrible conditions that are not good for their health.[2] Along with these working conditions, they have to work excessive hours, from sun up to sun down. While at work some of the girls suffer sexual harassment from their owners.

Restavecs are slave children who "belong" to well-to-do families. They receive no pay and are kept out of school. Since the emancipation and independence of 1804, affluent blacks and mulattoes have reintroduced slavery by using children of the very poor as house servants. They promise poor families in faraway villages who have too many mouths to feed a better life for their children. Once acquired, these children lose all contact with their families and, like slaves of the past, are sometimes given new names for the sake of convenience.[2]

A 2009 study by the Pan American Development Foundation found the following:

In general, leading indicators of restavèk treatment include work expectations equivalent to adult servants and long hours that surpass the cultural norm for children’s work at home, inferior food and clothing compared to other children in the home, sleeping on the floor rather than in a bed, no time out for play, and a common expectation that the restavèk child must use formal terms of address when speaking to social superiors including virtually all other household members. This expectation applies to restavèk relations to other children in the household, even children younger than the restavèk child, e.g., Msye Jak (“Mister Jacques” rather than simply Jacques).[3]

Education is also an important indicator in detecting child domesticity. Children in domesticity may or may not attend school, but when they do attend, it is generally an inferior school compared to other children. Restavek children are also more likely to be overage for their grade level, and their rates of non-enrollment are higher than non-restavèk children in the home.[3]

Everyone is talking about Haiti, but I have only heard one news outlet even speak of this. I do hope that as other nations enter Haiti to give aid and help in rebuilding, that demands are made on the Haitian government to do whatever necessary to stop child slavery in Haiti.


To find out what all the fuss is about click the heart:

by on Jan. 18, 2010 at 10:58 AM
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