In America today life for children seems to be better than it has been in the past. There is so much media focused on the family. There are so many child welfare agencies, and advocates focused on the enrichment of a child’s pshyical, medical, and emotional well being. While there are still cases of child abuse documented and horrific crimes are committed on children, there are agencies in place to help prevent these types of tradgeties. In the United States slavery is almost unheard of anymore. Child slavery is even less heard of. This is not the case in other Countries. The nation of Haiti which is located in the West Indies, occuping the western third of the island of Hispaniola, in the Caribbean Sea has a horrific problem with child slavery. The practice of slavery ended in Haiti in 1804, with the nation becoming the first independent nation in Latin America. However in the present slavery is growing in the culture, it has even been given a name “restavek” translated to stay with. Restavek accounts for hundreds of thousands of child slaves, who are abused, and treated poorly. Most of these slave children will end up homeless, or end up dead, an aweful life and a traject ending.
Haiti was a nation that was ruled by slavery, That slavery ended in 1804 with slaves basically freeing themselves. The people of Haiti much like they are today were struck with poverty, disease and despair. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. “In Haiti, for example, the racial catagories take into account phusical factors such as skin texture, depth of skin tone, hair color, appearance, and facial fetures.” (Cite text book here P 247) The religion in Haiti is voodoo, and there is violence especially towards women and children in that nation. “The theology at the heart of Haitian Vodou stands in direct contrast to domestic violence. Centered on a theology of hospitality and equality, Vodou offers great potential as a voice of resistance against violence.” (Cite peer review article) Although slavery officially ended so long ago the children in the nation the people of Haiti seem to except it and agree with it. There is little tourism in Haiti and the school systems are basically non existent. While families can send their children to school they cannot afford basic tools like pencils, text books, or papers. This forces families to give their children up to other families with only the promise that their kids will receive an education. Haiti as stated is largely in poverty, even giving you children away in hopes they receive and education is known to almost never happen. They children are given to families who are better off than the families they came from, but still can’t send the children to school. These slaves are sexually abused, mentally abused, and have no child hood, when they are older, if they survive they are usally kicked out into the streets to live out the rest of their lives with nothing.
Jean-Robert Cadet was on of those slaves, who came to America completed his education and began to shed light into the horrific life of small children in Haiti. Mr. Cadet describes how anyone can purchase a child. Usually as young as the tender age of three. All that has to be done is to promise the selling family an education. These children are worked long hours, they are never paid, they are never shown any love or affection. Many of them are beaten to death and have their bodies tossed in the trash like common house hold items. The ones that do actually survive are osterized from their home families. They are made to set tables that can never eat from. They have to get water they can never use, they are denied medical care. These children are not allowed to speak unless spoken to. They are forced to sleep outside, the children are not allowed in the home if adults are present. They are beaten reguallry, the same tools that were used to beat slaves before Haiti’s independence can be purchased on the street and are used on theses little humans. Mr. Cadet recounts what a typical day was like for him as a slave child; “As a slave child in Port-au-Prince, my day began at 5:30 in the morning and ended when the last adult went to sleep. I had to sweep the yard, water the plants, fill the tub for everyone’s bath, empty and wash the chamber pots, hand wash diapers, boil baby bottles, wash the car twice a day, dust the furniture every day, serve people drinks in the front yard every evening, wash people’s feet every evening, run errands, hand wash women’s monthly napkins, fetch water from afar, be borrowed by the family’s friends, and cook my own food. I worked seven days a week with no pay and no time to play. I was also excluded from all family activities such as meals, birthdays, attending school and church, Mother’s Day, Christmas, New Year’s celebrations, weddings, first communions, and even funerals. I could not speak unless spoken to. For any minor infraction, such as not answering quickly enough when my name was called, I was beaten without mercy. Like all restavec children, I was only an observer rather than a participant in my Haitian society and culture.” (Cite herehttp://www-ilo-mirror.cornell.edu/public/english/bureau/inst/download/cadet.pdf ) Mr. Cadet came to the Untied States in 1970, and his fate was ultimately blessed. Mr. Cadet went to high school, then joined the United State military, and continues to be an activist to the small voices in Haiti that can not speak for themselves.
With more than 300,000 child slaves in Haiti more light need to be shed on the subject. More media attention needs to