Child Slavery In The Wake Of The Earthquake In Haiti

I was sent a link to this video, Helping Haiti’s Child Slaves, this morning via email. I’ve seen it before and even linked to a longer version of it in A Capacity For Cruelty Is Never Justified.

But in light of the recent earthquake in Haiti, it seems more urgent than ever that the world be aware of the plight of  a segment of the restavec (French: rester avec – one who stays with) population in Haiti. What is evident from the video clip is that, in today’s world, some restavec are indeed treated as slaves. But what is also evident is the complexity of the problem in light of the cultural differences that exist between countries. And it’s not just between the USA and Haiti. My wife just returned from Kenya with Mothers Fighting For Others, where the people she met could not believe we DIDN’T beat our children with a cane. And while I agree with the conclusion that “a capacity for cruelty is never justified,” it is also true that “child labor is an unfortunate consequence of poverty and it’s attending miseries.” It’s a complex issue.

Not All Child Labor Should Be Considered Child Slavery

If we’re to address the issues that surround child slavery in developing countries like Haiti, we must not look at them through the myopic lens of our own culture. I’m neither an economist or a sociologist, but, as I read more and more, it is painfully clear to me that sometimes what I would love to be a “black and white” issue is incredibly gray. There are no simple answers. My perspective is one of a myriad. So, I encourage you to read this post by The Haitian Blogger for a different viewpoint. Warning, it’s a long post. Clear out some time to digest it properly.

One thing I know for sure – the earthquake in Haiti is not going to make the task any simpler.


  1. Do you have any info about anti-trafficking organizations or individuals who are working in Haiti post-quake? My colleague arrives in Haiti tomorrow to team with others to strengthen the network fighting child trafficking in PAP and surrounding areas. Would be very appreciative for any info you could share. Thanks for your time.

  2. So tragic that they have to grow up so quickly. Trading off their children because they believe they will have a better life…ummmmm makes ya think

  3. I think that the views on treating children in other countries is ridiculous. It should not be questioned that in America we don’t beat our children. As for what’s going on in Haiti, children are just being sold into slavery or sex trafficking, etc. They are homeless kids and should not be taken advantage of. Find them a home or a place that is safe for them, don’t put them in something that will torture them forever. They are only children and will not know anything but what you put them in. So I say t he selling of children is awful and extremely wrong doing.

  4. Some children that were sent to England prior to the German holocaust were treated like slaves… human beings can choose to be kind, or choose to be cruel. I rather my child starve with me than thinking that I’ve thrown him/her to the wolves.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s