Dominican and Haitian Child Labor: Same Problem with Different Intensity
The Dominican Republic and the Republic of Haiti, even though divided by a border, both carry with the same burden, child exploitation. A restavek is a Haitian child, often from rural area, who moves in with a family in the city and become a “house slave”. The host family agrees to care for, educate, feed and clothe in exchange for the domestic labors. On the other hand, Dominicans kids are encouraged to work since they are able to do or help in any kind of work, or as soon as they develop a sort of ability. Although in extremely different contexts, on the bottom these actions are the same, and fit perfectly under the tag of child exploitation. These are the same positions that ILO (International Labor Organization), and Timothy Janak adopt in their articles “Situation Diagnosis: Dominican Republic” and “Haiti's Restavek slave children: Difficult choices, difficult lives … yet … Lespwa fe Viv” respectively. Child labor can be compared among countries under three criteria: economic and culture’s circumstances, sexual abuse, and treatments at work place.
Child exploitation in both countries has the same main roots: the economic situation and the cultural values. Haiti, American poorest country, is characterized for high unemployment and famine rates, causing the restavek system to be highly more severe than child labor in the D.R. The restavek system is extremely attached to Haitian culture, it is so normal to the masses the acceptance of this sort of slavery in which these kids lives. These are some Haitian words that Janak quote “I hope my daughter is alive. I hated to give her up. I just have nothing to offer her … But she will at least live in a home with running water. I just pray to the Gods that she is not taken advantage of” Haiti has a 70% of unemployment rate, a life expectancy of 54% for both genders, and a 13% of the children dyeing before age five due to malnutrition; these...
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