U.S. Department of State 2002 Trafficking in Persons Report - Haiti
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||5 June 2002|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2002 Trafficking in Persons Report - Haiti, 5 June 2002, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d79928.html [accessed 30 January 2015]|
Haiti (Tier 2)
Trafficking in Haiti mainly involves the internal movement of children, primarily young girls between 6 and 14 years old, from the countryside to the cities for domestic servitude. Poorer families, unable to provide adequately for their children, send their daughters, and in some cases sons, to the cities to work as domestic servants for wealthier families. In return, the poorer families expect their children to receive shelter, food, education and a better life. This centuries-old practice places children, called "restaveks" (derived from the French words "rester avec" meaning "to stay with"), in situations that sometimes lead to exploitation. Although many restaveks receive adequate care, some are placed in slave-like conditions and are subject to violence, threats and other forms of physical and mental abuse. To a lesser extent, restaveks are sent to the United States, France, Canada and the Dominican Republic.
The Government of Haiti does not yet fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. There are no laws prohibiting trafficking and although Haiti has laws regulating child domestic labor, these laws are not enforced. The government does not actively investigate trafficking cases and there have been no prosecutions of traffickers. Despite severe resource constraints, which have worsened over the last year, the Government of Haiti provides some funding for activities to protect restaveks. The Haitian Ministry of Social Affairs has eight monitors to oversee the welfare of restaveks. The monitors respond to calls to the government-sponsored victim hotline, to police requests and to word-of-mouth requests. Although the government does not have a facility to care for restaveks, the monitors work with local NGOs to resettle the children or find their natural families. The Haitian Ministry of Social Affairs reported that it served 158 children in 2001, a significant decrease from the 760 that were assisted the previous year. Prevention efforts are hampered because many Haitians do not recognize that restaveks can be in exploitative situations. The Government of Haiti, which does recognize the use of restaveks as a problem, is attempting to educate the public with national television and radio advertisements about the mistreatment of child domestic laborers.