In the creole language, “Restavek: means “to stay with”. For the children called “Restavek” it means something completely different:
Stay … while being humiliated and abused
Alone, in a family without love
Stay with … hunger
The feeling that whatever happens, they will never matter.
Restavek is a kind of children’s slavery today in Haiti that stems from the difficult history of the country. Haiti has been impacted by a lot of problems and difficulties, including slavery, poverty and natural catastrophes.
The reasons why Restavek persists in Haiti are complex, ranging from the difficult economic conditions of the country to cultural attitudes towards children. It is urgent that we bring this practice to an end.
“All I want is to be a human”
While all countries have abolished slavery, this practice has evolved and adapted to different cultures, legal systems and economics, including child slavery and trafficking. In some cases, the owners exchange slaves to pay their debts.
Slaves are unable to function alone; they are tied to the desires and will of their master.
In Haiti, families send their children to live with other families in Restavek. In theory, they would be in a more stable structure. Due to the numerous problems still present in Haiti, including extreme poverty in rural areas and a lack of education, slavery still exists in the form of restavek.