Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2014, 13:11 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2001 Trafficking in Persons Report - Haiti

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 12 July 2001
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2001 Trafficking in Persons Report - Haiti, 12 July 2001, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d77028.html [accessed 20 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Haiti (Tier 2)

Trafficking of children occurs primarily within Haiti's borders for purposes of prostitution or labor. The practice of parents sending their children, mainly girls, whom they feel they cannot take care of to work as domestic servants in exchange for that child's room and board has existed in Haiti for centuries. These children are called "restaveks" (derived from the French words ‘rester avec' meaning ‘to stay with'). While many restaveks are well taken care of and receive adequate care including an education, a significant number are subjected to violence, threats and other forms of physical and mental abuse. Some of the former restaveks end up as prostitutes because they lack the resources to return to their families or other opportunities when their services are no longer needed as restaveks. To a lesser extent, Haiti is a country of origin for trafficked men and women to the United States, Europe (mainly France), Canada, and the Dominican Republic.

The Government of Haiti does not yet fully meet the minimum standards; however, the Government has acknowledged its internal trafficking problem and is making significant efforts to address it despite severe resource constraints. There is no evidence that the authorities are complicit in trafficking. There is no law specifically prohibiting trafficking in persons, and the Government does not adequately enforce existing labor laws regarding child labor. However, the Government devotes its entire social welfare budget to combat the trafficking of restavek children. For example, the Government ran a media campaign to prevent the mistreatment of children and maintained a hotline for victims. This effort resulted in the removal of 760 restaveks from abusive households. Government officials then placed rescued victims in shelters and in the care of NGO's. The International Labor Organization, at the Government's request, is developing a framework for addressing the gap between practice, national legislation, and international standards with regard to combating child domestic labor.

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