Haiti's slave children - BBC audio slideshow

BBC Radio 4's Today Programme have published an audio slideshow about child slavery in Haiti, which you can see here.

The report explains, with a series of photographs, how children in poverty come to be taken into slavery within the large-scale Restavek system, affecting at least 100,000 girls.  As you can see from the report, boys are also at risk.   It is very striking material, please watch it if you have time.

Amnesty International published a campaign report on child slavery in Haiti on the 20th of November, which you can read about here

They found that most young children are taken in to wealthier households to perform domestic tasks such as collecting water, cooking and cleaning.   Most leave home because their own families are so poor they cannot afford to keep them.  The word 'Restavek' comes from the French 'rester avec' (to stay with).

The UN, in a report which was featured on this blog earlier in the year, has described the 'Restavek' system as a modern form of slavery.

As those captives are so young, however, the entrapment and dependence they face is extraordinarily damaging to their development. Often completely denied their right to education, healthcare and food, the children (especially girls) are also subject to extreme physical and sexual violence. 

Half the girls that report being raped are 18 years old or younger. Many find the experience of Restavek so traumatic that they leave and end up selling their bodies on the streets. 

There is, as yet, no legal or parliamentary system in place to protect or help these domestic workers.

Haiti lacks strong children's rights laws, despite being a signatory of human rights treaties that could help them build adequate legislation to protect the rights of these young people.

Please help us call on the Haitian parliament to protect Haitian domestic workers.  You can do this by signing the petition here: http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/protect-girls-domestic-labour-haiti-181109

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