Haitian kids exploited by tradition
November 23rd, 2011
07:14 PM ET

Haitian kids exploited by tradition

Editor's note: "Common Dreams", which aired on CNN at the weekend, can now be viewed online in its entirety. Find out more about how you can help the Haitian children at CommonDreamsHaiti.com

A Grammy Award-winning musician and actor is using his star power to help rescue children being exploited in Haiti, a nation founded by freed slaves.

In a Freedom Project documentary, Common shines a light on the plight of the Restaveks, the estimated 300,000 children working as domestic servants in Haiti.

The United Nations says the deeply rooted practice is a form of modern-day slavery.

Common said, "I just felt like I was entering another place, another world I had never experienced, and I really had to prepare my mind to be in it."

In Haiti, he met children who are forced to work long hours and denied an education. He also met a team dedicated to securing their freedom.

"Often you speak to them, their heads are down, they don't make eye contact. Most of all, they feel very inferior and that carries them into adulthood," Common said.

"We have a nation where the children who become adults have very little skills. They are illiterate, and they are not integrated into Haitian culture."

The practice of Restavek - from a French word meaning "to stay with" - began with the noble intentions of educating children from rural villages. But over the years, the practice has become twisted. The result is that many children are now exploited rather than helped.

View a hi-res version of Steven Taylor's photos

As poverty and misrule held back Haiti over the decades, the chances to go to school became fewer. The Restavek system remained, with children being forced to work instead of receiving an education.

Even when an earthquake almost two years ago devastated large parts of the capital, Port-au-Prince, the Restavek system remained.

In view of the still-destroyed presidential palace is a tent city with trash piled up in the streets, where children can be seen working. Many of them are Restaveks in forced labor, not kids helping mom or dad.

Among them is a 12-year-old girl whose back is scarred from months, possibly years, of carrying water for 30 minutes over rough ground to the canvas-walled home where she lives.

Find out why celebrity photographer Steven Taylor joined the project

The Restavek Freedom Foundation tries to get the children into school to help make their lives a little easier and their futures brighter.

Haitian-born New Yorker Fabiola Desmont goes searching out Restavek homes, trying to convince the adults that the children should be in school, not working.

At one home, a man was persuaded to let his Restavek child go to school. The child's eyes lit up. But not everyone is able to see the system is wrong.

Common said, "The children are removed from their parents and sent to live with other families where the adults treat them like slaves. They do not get to go to school or enjoy themselves.

"They can encounter mental, physical and emotional abuse with these families. It's a tough situation for me to see them (in), but imagine what it is like to be the kid - it's much tougher for them.

"Restavek Freedom tries to reason with the adults looking after these children, and tries to get them into a better environment.

"We were going (into homes) to say 'it's a child's right to learn.' It will help Haitian society, but some of them could not see that.

"We talked to little kids about what they wanted to do. Some said they wanted to do something great; others dreamed of going to school. Everyone should be allowed to fulfill their dream."

soundoff (285 Responses)
  1. james

    the people who take those kids is because they in the streets they take them to make them do they jobs for them give them food to eat and give them place for them can live haiti his no slavery please please even in america you find people that not living well life is hard everywhere in the world now haiti need invesment not charity but im very proud of common because he doin somthing very helpful my massage is today is not tomorrow haiti will change one day think you commom for your surport to the haitian i hope you not like the us promiss and never done a thing for the haitian people

    November 23, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Reply
    • raika45

      For a nation to progress you need good leadership.Unfortunately most African nations do not have that.You people are too embroiled in your outdated and unproductive beliefs and corruption.If you cannot change that all the help from the world will not help.

      November 24, 2011 at 7:30 am | Reply
      • Speeder

        Raika you show how well informed you are by saying that Haiti is in Africa.

        Haiti is in America.

        November 24, 2011 at 9:15 am |
      • wjshelton

        Well put, Speeder.

        November 24, 2011 at 10:57 am |
      • Paddy Singh

        Absolutely right, except that though Haiti is not in Africa its people are descendants of slaves that came from there. This is prevalent in every black country where, despite being the richest places in the world, mineral and natural resources wise, the people live on barely a dollar a day, while the politicians leech off the country. All aid goes into their pockets and the west instead of stopping this aid don't mind it being pocketed because their companies are allowed to mine the resources, give more money to the dictators, all in the name of promised development which never happens. The West and the hard hearted Chinese all prey on the poverty that engulfs Africa while wineing and dining with its dictators.

        November 24, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
      • tony

        listen to u talk about we africans are too embroilled in our unproductive beliefs, from the day you whites set foot in our land and start kidnapping us to be your slaves, our lifes have never been the same. So please get your facts straight, you all are very much part of the problem.

        November 24, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
      • David

        Tony, you can't possibly blame slavery for African country's instability. That was hundreds of years ago. There have been plenty of terrible things that have happened to Europeans (the plague), Jews (The holocaust), Australians, Indians, and they all have stable governments.

        November 24, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
      • Gregory

        David, I believe both you and Tony are right. Africa as been devastated by both the Europeans and the Americans, and they left it in a state of discord that plays a strong role in it not being able to function for centuries; and they are STILL after its resources... so yes you can place some blame on colonization. However most African nations could certainly have done a better job in governing, but greed is in the way.
        Same for Haiti, the Spanish took its gold, the French took many other ressources and exploited the country for decades. Now putting it back on its feet is certainly more difficult. Though the Haitian people could have also done a better job with governing themselves, but with the lack of education and the poverty that is so rampant in the country, what can they do by themselves? Very little indeed.

        November 24, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
      • tom

        Speeder said: "Raika you show how well informed you are by saying that Haiti is in Africa.

        Haiti is in America."

        Speeder, you don't know either. Haiti is located on the Island of Hispanola which it shares with the Dominican Republic. It is not in North America nor South America so "Haiti is in America" is wrong! Hispanola is a Caribbean Island. Got it?

        November 24, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
      • Michele

        David, although slavery was hundreds of years ago, in many cases colonization and exploitation ended only about 100 – 150 years ago. African nations are crippled by the artificial boundaries imposed on them by the Europeans. These boundaries ignored traditional tribal lands, and forced people who historically considered themselves enemies to engage in nation building together. This hasn't worked, and has led to dysfunctional governments and genocide in many places. Only now are some nations breaking away (South Sudan most recently) from what was imposed on them.

        November 24, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
      • Bazoing

        Does this imply that we have good leadership? These conditions are our grandchildren's future.

        November 24, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
      • 4nature

        You are just as dumb speeder. Haiti is not in America. It is in the Caribbean.

        November 24, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
      • Across12

        By your understanding Tony whites are the cause of misery in Africa's countries today, aren't they? They went there 500 years ago, got the cream of the crop and left you without your best people, the inventors, the hard workers, the transformers of the continent. Instead of saying thank you whites for liberating some of our kind, show us what implies to be civilized and prosper, you still hold a grudge foolishly against whites. I'm freaking perplexed looking at the big picture of events and I'm asking around " Who should thank to Who". Live and die in your ignorance and keep blaming "Exodus" for your laziness and giftless living. You keep calling your dead spirits, dance naked around a fire, torture, maim, ans shoot your kind because that's basically all you can do on earth.

        November 24, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
      • aweeleprechan

        across12, that is the most blatantly racist thing i have ever heard

        you cannot actually be calling "tony" jealous because his ancestors weren't some of the "elite" that were "liberated" from the grip of africa. every single problem plaguing african nations, and any nation touched by the hand of colonizers and the "civilized," can be linked, either directly or indirectly, to the contact with people who believed themselves to be more advanced culturally. the inability to feed themselves can be linked to the european ideas of agriculture (vs horticulture), the fragmented and corrupt systems of government can be linked to the colonizers' insistence on setting up territories with absolutely NO historical or cultural links to reality. many african nations (READ: nations, not states...look up the definition in any anthropological textbook) had highly CIVILIZED and self-sustaining systems of governance LONG before we europeans ever came up with the idea of a government.

        please crawl back under your rock and continue to believe that america, and europe by extension, are the end-all, be-all of civilization....just don't inflict your ignorance on the rest of us

        November 25, 2011 at 12:27 am |
      • getsomeboi

        @across12 u suck bruh. talkin bout how they're living in africa but fail to see the shenanigans that our own country is in. you're throwing rocks in a glass house. i believe most people will agree with me when i say that the us is in a terrible state right now but wat makes it even worse is that we're in a DEMOCRACY. that means the people have the power right?!?! u talkin about how they call on their ancestors as if it was foolish as if there is only one religion in this word. u, my dude, are a sucker. serious business tho, africa isnt doing as bad as the news makes em out to be anyway. the news and the media are all responsible for bringing the black man down.

        November 25, 2011 at 2:55 am |
      • Carlin123

        In 1820 the king of the African kingdom of Ashanti inquired why the Christians did not want to trade slaves with him anymore, since they worshipped the same god as the Muslims and the Muslims were continuing the trade like before.

        November 27, 2011 at 11:06 am |
      • al

        @Tony, You are the one who needs to get your facts straight. The slaves were kidnapped by other Africans and sold to the slave traders or killed if they could not be sold.

        November 27, 2011 at 11:27 am |
      • Anon

        Haiti is a Caribbean country, you ignorant fools. It is NOT a part of America or the Americas. You are on a computer but don't have the common sense to look something up before you open your cybermouths.

        November 27, 2011 at 11:39 am |
      • MyName

        Africans haven been enslaving each other for 10,000 years. Shaka Khan and his Mfecane movement almost destroyed South Africa (1820-1840), all without the help of the white man or the "hard hearted Chinese". If and when the blacks take responsibility for their past, present and future, then they can reclaim their power without relying on the white man's generosity to make everything alright. Would you rather be a black woman in the US or a black woman in Africa? Shaka Khan ate women – alive.

        November 27, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
      • dom

        hahaha haiti is in africa? since when? wow....

        December 2, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
      • ElisaSXM

        It is interesting to note the difference socially and economically between The Dominican Republic and Haiti who share a common island. Haiti has stayed closer to it's African routes in it's traditions, beliefs and habits. It is a land of misery and suffers from the very tribal influences that also give it great Art and Culture. The Domincan people although poor, are educated and self sufficient and have access to adequate medical care. There is corruption as well but it is the nature of the people to plant, grow, fish and work together. Equating Haiti with Africa is not far off the mark. I live, work and employ people from these 2 different cultures and see the difference everyday. Haiti needs education desperately !!!!

        December 12, 2011 at 9:17 am |
      • Johnnie99

        Haiti is in America? Since when?

        December 17, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
      • Caiha

        Last I checked the Carribean was a part of the Americas. This includes Hispaniola. It sure as heck isn't Africa. As for the rest, I'm staying out of this debate which is clearly "racist trolls vs everyone else"

        December 18, 2011 at 10:02 am |
      • Bradley

        Ahh ya the parents not allowing them to get educated because feel the sytsem failed them and why should it work for there offspring Interal Emotion passed down gen 2 gen from slavery. Try pute you minds eye in thier lives light.

        December 18, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
      • ytdontplay

        raika45's comment spoke about African nations. No where in the comment did it say that Haiti was in Africa.

        May 9, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
      • pianki

        If Africa needs good leaders please don't send any like the U.S President George Bush their way.

        September 14, 2012 at 5:28 am |
    • Vladimir

      Are you crazy or what maybe your family back there doing the same or you doing the same, In Haiti those children are worst that a sleeve. you sleep late in wake up early. sometime the send them to night school in this school the teacher do not even know for them self. I'm Haitian but if we keep saying those stuff are good there is no way Haiti will became better. I have family, friend who used to have restavek, those childream who became adult can not even read, how can you have a better life as a restavek when you sleep late, and the have to clean your house in babysitter your child for free and not even know how to read, tell me 1 restavek in Haiti who became a Doctor or Nurse or have money after they have to left your house, they still call you to ask you a 50 dollars for help.

      November 24, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Reply
      • philomen

        Vladimir, no offense to you specifically, but your friends and family members who took in other people's children and did not bother educating them are callous and should be ashamed of themselves. Many of my family members were taken-in by strangers who raised and educated them and when they grew-up returned the favor by taking-in other people's children and providing them with a good education.

        November 24, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • melvis

      Just blame it on Bush

      November 24, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Reply
      • Vladimir

        This is not about me or friend or family, this is about Haiti and no one did a good effort to help them, they said they give them food, or they put them to school with school those teacher do not even know how to read. When I said family is not like the same way we call family in the USA in Haiti a close friend can be your family or a family from 3 or 4. but still we need to change those stuff

        November 25, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • Kareny

      It's obvious that you're one of the uneducated in haiti no wonder you have this viewpoint.

      November 24, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Reply
      • Vladimir

        I do not know if your reply is about me but if is i'm ok with that since I believe we all going to die and we all son of God educated or not

        November 25, 2011 at 1:08 am |
    • Mandy

      What have you done for Haiti? USA is the best and please I am sure you will not like to live like one of those kids.I think you may be one of the bad guys in Haiti.

      November 25, 2011 at 3:13 am | Reply
      • james

        The people from Africa that became slaves shipped to the America's were not kidnapped by whites – they were sold by their own people to the whites – the slave trade was a booming business in Africa for hundreds if not thousands of years before the whites were involved -there were many African Kings whose wealth depended on the slave trade – it was the most valuable commodity they had – this does not excuse the slavery in the America's yet it does put it into its proper perspective.

        November 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • ja

      You poor poor Haitian man. I have found in my travels around the world that the poorer a country, the more they are likely to point their fingers at the shortcomings of other nations out of a sense of masked shame and self preservation. Let's make no mistakes here. Haiti is hell on earth. If you actually traveled and live outside of Haiti for a few years, you would understand. But just like a frog put into cold water and slowly brought to a boil, you have lost touch with just how bad it has gotten.

      November 25, 2011 at 8:56 am | Reply
    • Manuel Rodriguez

      When Haiti got his "freedom" was only for the leaders not for all the nation,the only change was instead of white the master were black even up to today that persist the french speaking 1% control over 90% of the economy the rest patois speaking are the "restavek" the de 1%

      November 27, 2011 at 11:37 am | Reply
    • djwazu

      First and fore most, everyone should be aware Haiti has paid dearly for being the first to revolt against and abolish slavery and has been paying the price ever since.
      I am not giving a pass to the Haitian leaders who have been incompetent to resolving the countries problems even with the obvious examples of other caribbean countries doing very well near by. I've had those so called "Restavek children" living with my family when I was growing up in Haiti and the system is slavery in a way but it's also by default. If I didn't have any other option for food, clothing, and shelter then to stay with a family in exchange and hope for the best, that is what I or anyone else would do. Unfortunately human nature is always a factor is some cases and bad things do occur!
      America is one of the greatest countries in the world but take a good look around and you could find similar situation right under our own noses. Take for example the minimum wage is it a living wage or is it a soft form of slavery? I would argue that it is, but if you don't have a choice or have made the wrong choices in life then you will work for a minimum wage.

      November 27, 2011 at 11:47 am | Reply
    • Manuel Rodriguez

      When Haiti got his "freedom" was only for the leaders not for all the nation,the only change was instead of white the master were black even up to today that persist the french speaking 1% control over 90% of the economy the rest patois speaking are the "restavek" of the 1%

      November 27, 2011 at 11:48 am | Reply
    • cnc1966

      The US has never done a thing for Haiti? I guess those millions upon millions of dollars Clinton and Bush collected were dropped over the ocean somewhere? Or maybe all that money was promised but never given? Someone needs to asked Clinton and Bush about that. Aside from that I do know that a lot of Americans have helped Haiti and it's people. But Haiti will never be a stable country or be self sufficient in any way. Neither will the black poor neighborhoods in America. Hands out and that's just that.

      November 27, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Reply
    • too bad

      AFRICANS are ignorant peoples since the beginning of humanity,nothing is going to change that.get a life.

      November 27, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Reply
    • Levi

      Not a big fan of punctuation, are you?

      December 3, 2011 at 5:24 am | Reply
    • Levi

      Wait, so there are still problems with Haiti? But I texted to donate $10 to them!

      December 3, 2011 at 5:26 am | Reply
      • Lupita

        Of course I'll coemmnt and do my part. Thanks Kelcey, for everything you do, even the little things that may not seem like much from one perspective. Every bit of insight or humor or even pain that you share through your blog touches hearts and spreads positive energy in ways that can't be measured. This is something that can be, and I for one, am grateful.[]

        September 11, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • ElisaSXM

      Having lived 20 years in the Caribbean I see that each island country has it's own unique culture and heritage. Hailti has however stayed very close to it's African roots. It is an Caribbean Island Nation. The only way to stop the exploitation and rape of it's natural resources (if it isn't already too late) is to feed and educate it's children and it's adults. With education comes the tools to feed the flame of desire and the tools to be the master of their own fate. There are educated and inspirational Haitian people, but this is the minority. And often these very people exploit their own countrymen. Ignorance was the colonists method of keeping the Haitian people powerless. This can no longer be tolerated.Just across the border In the DR education is a right and is free. It needs to be the same in Haiti !

      December 12, 2011 at 9:55 am | Reply
  2. Linda UmBayemake

    It hurts to think a child cannot e free to be a child,.free from harm, abuse and not given regular meals.. I. think Common is doing a good but, out govrnmernt needs to step i

    November 23, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Reply
    • Patrick Nommensen

      Yes, I completely agree! Likes Restavek Freedom Foundation our organization also works to end this culture. Check us out at http://www.rfahaiti.org.

      November 25, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Reply
  3. Uncle Lim

    Many of their ancestors were brought in from Africa as sugar cane slaves in 16th century. Many still live in slavery. The word “tradition” sounds distressing.

    November 24, 2011 at 6:26 am | Reply
    • storm

      close neighbor of the god fearing usa.usa which creates mayhem all over the world but nothing for a poor neighbor.does the usa follow the saying "love thy neighbor as thy self,

      November 24, 2011 at 11:25 am | Reply
      • the law

        them days are gone Pal... teach them birth control will ya..

        November 27, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • oldboldgold

      storm... I'll fuss with my government and my people in the U.S. because they are leading us down the path where you live. You fuss with your government and your people to step up out of the morass. All of this cannot come from the outside. I disagree with most in that I do not believe schools and books are the only education and wisdom available. We all need to step up to the plate from where we start.

      November 24, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Reply
  4. desert voice (troubledgoodangel or Nathanael or Bohdan or Voiceinthedesert)

    In such cases, I always refer people to the Book of Sirach 33, 20: "Not to a son, not to a wife, not to a brother, not to a friend give power ofver you until your last breath! The sense here is not a power we give to a legitimately elected president or a doctor. The sense is the ultimate power that God gives each person, which is called HUMAN DIGNITY. That power we must never give to a living other, not even a doctor or a president! By the way, this advice is not just for Haiti, but for the U.S. and for the people of Egypt, in fact, for every people on earth!

    November 24, 2011 at 6:31 am | Reply
    • oldboldgold

      I have never read the Book of Sirach, it wasn't included in the Bible. Where did you get a copy?

      November 24, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Reply
    • Martina

      Wow. Sounds like the next thing you were going to say is that you are a Jesus Christ or a prophet of some sort. Go preach somewhere else.

      November 25, 2011 at 1:37 am | Reply
  5. HJS

    Sounds like Liberia....

    November 24, 2011 at 8:54 am | Reply
    • greek

      Makes one wonder is freeing them was wise. Perhaps the Romans had a good idea after all.

      November 27, 2011 at 11:34 am | Reply
  6. MA

    I recommend reading Peter Hallward's book Damning the Flood to further understanding of why it is that Haiti looks like it does now, even if it was the first modern democratic republic in the western world.

    November 24, 2011 at 10:01 am | Reply
    • Bogotabye

      US Revolution 1776, French "Revolution" 1789, Haitian Revolution 1804 - and it's very debatable that the Haitian Revolution established a democracy.

      November 24, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Reply
      • greek

        One must remeber that in the sceme of things fact and truth are not relavent.

        November 27, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  7. pepito


    November 24, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Reply
  8. anon

    Gramy Award winning musician exploiting Haitians to get goodwill.

    November 24, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Reply
    • Savoir

      Well said. None of those pictures represent any Haitians restavèk. almost all restavèk are girls, and those pictures are fill with boys younger than 6. this is crappy article.

      November 24, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Reply
    • philomen

      From what I've read from entertainment sites, he's also putting out a video he shot in Haiti. So like the say in kreyol: mouche fenk kare ap eksplwate ayisyen.

      November 24, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Reply
    • Asusule

      only in Jehovah's Orgn. can we see such love. I am not ashamed to admit this, but some of the news uborght tears to my eyes.I have been in the truth now for 44 yrs. and an elder for 38 years and have seen love like this in many aeras but the Haiti experience you have had will be with for ever. We all wish we could do more for our brothers world wide, however what we can do is pray to Jehovah and thank him for brothers and sisters like yourself that can give this kind of help to others in need. Thank you for this information.May Jehovah bless you and all there with his Holy Spirit and Love. Again give our love to all as you are able to do and tell them they are always in our prayers priviate and at our cong. meetings.

      March 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Reply
  9. Bogotabye

    Two excellent books (in addition to anything by Paul Farmer) Travesty in Haiti by Timothy Schwartz and Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux. So many countries has sent millions and millions of dollars to Haiti - all of it to no avail. Last year passing through the Ft. Lauderdale airport I saw several well-dressed Haitian families returning to Haiti after their vacations in the US - with flat screened TVs and cases of expensive wine. My husband and youngest son had just been to the northern peninsula to help on a community center construction project, they saw people unable to walk because of hunger.

    November 24, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Reply
    • Bogotabye

      oops, have sent not has sent

      November 24, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Reply
  10. Andyvon

    Unlike almost all other peoples around the world, sub-Saharan Africans have no cultural history. There has never been any history of black achievements in science such as mathematics, astronomy, literature, philosophy etc. In fact, no black African society ever even invented writing or a script. Instead, black Africa operated as a slave culture for tens of thousands of years. African tribes always raided their neighbours to capture slaves – young men to prevent a neighbouring tribe becoming too powerful and girls and women to keep the gene pool healthy and prevent inbreeding.

    At the time of Christ, the Arabs operated the largest slave market in the world in Zanzibar and the Arabs only stopped trading in African slaves after the British anti-slaving campaigns (against Tippu Tip) at the end of the 19th century. Although Haiti is part of Hispaniola, the US like to refer to black Americans as 'African' so Haiti can be regarded that way too. Black African societies have always functioned in this manner (evidence Mali and Mauritania today!) so this kind of service in Haiti isn't surprising. It's just a continuation of how African society has usually operated.

    November 24, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Reply
    • Frank Salemme

      Wow. A completely uninformed statement. God save us if this is what passes for intellect in the USA.

      November 24, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Reply
    • chestnut26

      You need to read up on your world history. Civilization started in Africa, not Europe. Have you heard of the Egyptian civilization for example? They had a written language, they were master builders, mathematicians, etc. Europeans went to Africa and jumped into the slave trade with both feet. African tribes bargained with the Europeans to save themselves and get rid of their enemies. Also most of Africa was colonized by European countries and remained so for hundreds of years. Most African countries did not gain their independence until the 1940's, 50's and 60's. By then, the Europeans had taken as much of the wealth of these countries as possible. Ignorance is not bliss.

      November 24, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Reply
      • knowsomething

        chestnut26, Andyvon is talking about subsaharan Africa. Egypt is not subsaharan. At the same time, I disagree with Andyvon that subsaharan Africa has no history. Because they did not exploit slaves to build huge buildings that withstood time, so historians could study it 3000 years into the future does not mean they have no culture or history.

        Western schools do not teach about subsaharan Africa except in the sense of the slave trade. People lived, ruled, fought, killed and lived some more in that area. There are some historians who study the history of this area.

        HJS – yup: sounds like Liberia (I've lived and studied there).

        November 27, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • M C L

      "For most of the first millennium AD, the Axumite Kingdom in Ethiopia and Eritrea had a powerful navy and trading links reaching as far as the Byzantine Empire and India. Between the 14th and 17th centuries, the Ajuuraan State centered in modern-day Somalia practiced hydraulic engineering and developed new systems for agriculture and taxation, which continued to be used in parts of the Horn of Africa as late as the 19th century."


      December 12, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Reply
    • history teacher

      Don't believe the lie. There were definitely black societies that invented writing, The Meroitic script was invented by the Nubians in Sudan/Nubia; Ge'ez was invented by the Ethiopians; Nsibidi was a proto-writing used and invented by the Nigerians, the Somalians had an ancient script, and Demotic was invented by the 25th Dynasty of Nubians,
      You should really do some research on ancient African history, you'll be surprised at the distortions that have been written in western text books and other so called scholarly reports. It is really an amazing history that has been covered up for too long.

      March 5, 2016 at 11:40 pm | Reply
  11. john smith

    Can one of you tell me why Haiti is so poor and cannot support itself besides the obvious, which is overpopulation. What was the U.S doing in Haiti in Mid 90's? Again a few years ago?
    May sound cruel, but Haiti needs some kind of massacre. It is too populated. People are still reproducing under the conditions they live, without thinking of where the next meal will come from. Must think as a whole nation. Government needs to stop exploiting the people.

    November 24, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Reply
    • philomen

      In the mid 90's, the US was in Haiti sponsoring a coup d'etat. A few years ago, 2004 to be specific, the US there again training and arming mercenaries to topple a democratically elected president. There is no government in Haiti so to speak, only puppets who's every move is dictated to them by the US.

      November 24, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Reply
      • John Smith

        You have an idea of what's going on but not all. Yes the U.S. was in Haiti in 94 to put President Aristide in Power, the same guy the U.S. went back in not too long ago to extract from Haiti because he was about to get killed for the corruption he brought. Again, the U.S intervened and sent him into exil in Africa. Right now, the President is the famous musician, Michel Martelly. Haiti was once a beautiful country. One of the factors to its poverty is the debt the Haitian government had to pay to France. An amount of money that Haiti really could not afford.

        November 24, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • chestnut26

      Are you serious? A massare is another word for mass murder. You're advocating mass murder as a means of reducing the population of a country? Are you a human being?

      November 24, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Reply
  12. schnikers

    I'm surprised that children today survive their childhood.

    November 24, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Reply
  13. unowhoitsme

    No different than here in America.

    November 24, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Reply
    • Marky

      Oh, please!! I work with a Haitian orphanage, and have for years. They have their own school, learn a trade or go for whatever further education they qualify for. This is not the norm, and these kids we work with would not have what they do except for an exceptional Haitian couple who run the orphanage and school, and the people in the USA who help them all the time.

      In the USA, where I have worked with children for many years, no one had to starve or miss school because they were servants, and all of them had the opportunity every day to go to school, and their was someone available to take them out of a bad home and put them into a caring home the minute anyone knew about any impropriety. I have to say, for every child who is hurt or hungry here, there are hundreds who are mistreated and/or starved.

      I don't think u know the situation, really.

      November 24, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Reply
      • ElisaSXM

        I don't think you can compare "starving" people in the USA with STARVING people in Haiti. I am American and have lived in the Caribbean 20 years. Not the same infrastructure in Haiti. All they have going for them is lack of winter. So they aren't starving AND freezing. Sure my 76 year old mother has problems making ends meet in The USA, but she can certainly live with less than she has. When all you have is the clothes on your back and a cardboard house to live in, where is there to go. If you can't read and can't understand instructions, hard to find work. The land has been raped to make charcoal for cooking, so every time it rains the crops flood away...no food either. Coral beds dead, fewer fish...

        December 12, 2011 at 10:34 am |
  14. Ed

    Truth be told this was actually pretty common practice in America as well. NBC has this gemological show that features the ancestry of famous people. I forget which star it was but their ancestors turned up in the homes of an unrelated family as servants.

    I think sometimes do gooder Americans should mind their own business. The best way to help Haiti is assist in its development not tell them how to conduct their lives.

    November 24, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Reply
    • Sally

      "I think sometimes do gooder [sic] Americans should mind their own business. The best way to help Haiti is assist in its development not tell them how to conduct their lives." Ed, if this were the early 1800s, would you be saying this to abolitionist American and English citizens - that they should leave countries alone that conducted the slave trade - or regions of America that had it - and mind their own business? Turning a blind eye and giving money to governments that ceaselessly engage in corruption is unconscionable.

      November 24, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Reply
      • MEE


        November 24, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
      • Erondina

        I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work Look owafrrd to reading more from you in the future.

        April 8, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Martina

      YOur comment is stupid and completely irrelevant. The fact that the same had happened elsewhere in the world does not mean that it's right. And it does not mean that people in the developed countries should mind their own business. May be it was people like you who stood by and watched the genocide in Rwanda without doing anything.

      November 24, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Reply
  15. headedtohaiti

    Interesting dialogue... makes me wonder how many of you have been to Haiti and are speaking from personal experiance and which of you are speaking from second hand knowledge from others...there is a difference you know.

    November 24, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Reply
    • TraceyR

      I went to Haiti in July. I saw progress. a 120 mile journey used to take 10+ hours depending on weather. I saw roads being made, a few new schools, and content children away from Port Au Prince. There is still abject poverty on the side of the island I spent time in but there are glimmers of progress. Our LOCAL translators who have grown up in poverty selling charcoal on th side of the road said that this new president is more than a figure head. In the short period of time he has been in office there have been 6 schools built and a road over the mountains to Jeremie and beyond is about 50% done. I thought it was beautiful country with beautiful people. I would move there tomorrow and work side by side to help rebuild one little corner at a time if I could.

      November 24, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Reply
  16. Steve

    What a great idea. This teaches these kids the value of hard work and eliminates those damm public servicre unions that leach all us hard working people. Newt – you should point too the success of children labor in hati during your next debate.

    November 24, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Reply
  17. Rob

    Well this has been interesting reading. I have since the Black community decided to call themselves Black Americans and then turn around a couple years later and call themselves African Americans been sick to my stomach. The people came from people that were freed slaves and they wanted a better life for themselves – did they get it no way. Is the US helping them yes are they being slaved again yes as they were in Africa by their own people. I say this as a vet. if you don't like it here in America and can't call yourself an AMERICAN then book you a one way ticket to Haiti. More foodstamps available for those that really need them.

    November 24, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Reply
    • chestnut26

      But it's okay to call yourself Irish American or Italian American or Polish American or whatever, but when black people do, they're unamerican and unpatriotic. And let's quit celebrating St. Patrick's Day and the Chinese New Year and other ethnic holidays since we are all Americans. What a hyprocrite.

      November 24, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Reply
    • ellyn

      you say this as a vet? Is the fact that you joined or were conscripted into the military supposed to give you some special wisdom? Well Rob, it's just not apparent here that this is the case.Your "love it or leave it" philosophy is just plain ignorant. If one loves something and sees it going down a wrong path one attempts to help right the wrong they don't walk away like a coward. Either way, a person referring to themselves a African American or black is a personal choice and nothing more it is not done to to anger you and would only bother you if you were a class " A" bigot looking for some way to show your hatred for a particular ethnic group.

      November 25, 2011 at 3:10 am | Reply
  18. Cassandra Chu

    ... the "Freedom Project" should write an article about de-slaving the American politicians from the Israelis and AIPAC.

    November 24, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Reply
  19. polycarp pio

    Thank you for your work in Haiti. I love and support orphans in Haiti. PP

    November 24, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Reply
  20. Bazoing

    The kind of economy that leads to this is what the Republicans want for everyone except themselves, and it is what the Democrats are willing to sell us out for.

    November 24, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Reply

    Common may the GREAT GOD that we serve grant you favor, Thank you! I will include you in my prayer, GOD is proud to call you son. Be blessed Psssssssssssssss.

    November 24, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Reply
    • jimmymax


      November 24, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Reply
  22. Karl

    The Haitian government can do a better job, by prosecuting those who are violating the rights of those children, by mistreating them, not sending them to school. Just like they got rid of child abuse in the school system. It won't take much to get that accomplished; by arresting a few of the abusers and you will see how quick that will stop.

    November 24, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Reply
  23. Luck L Guerrier

    It is absolutely a sad reality there and unfortunately some always try to take their one advantage of it. As Haitian, it hapenned that I had taken a lillte girl from her parents in my home town (Roche A Bateau) to live with me in Port Au Prince where i resided. Of cours the fisrt intention was to have her home for some duties. In fact, she helped my wife and My children a lot. But, at the same time, I sended her to shool, graduated from elementary , pursued her high school,and became a responsible and independante woman. Later,she found a job at one of the bigest banks in Haiti but her husband who is a lawyer asked her to resign and stay home to take care of their baby girl. SO, for me being proud of myself is a legitime factor. Being descendant from slaves or Africa in my opinion doesn't necessary justify the reality of this situation. All it's about EDUCATION-EDUCATION AND EDUCATION. It is not about White, Black or Brown. Science can prove that it's absurd... At the end, I would like to quote Gandhi by saying that: : Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." Please just think about this and you all will have a better understanding of the world.

    November 24, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Reply
    • philomen

      Thank you Luck for your sharing your experience. The restavek system has always been presented through crooked lenses by the media. The restavek system is not a tradition as it is often referred to in the media, but rather an informal foster system. What happens in Haiti is that there aren't enough schools in the country side, so rural parents would send their children to live with families in the city where they perform chores in exchange for room and board. All children in Haiti work whether they live with their parents or not, there is no other way around; very few people have running water or electricity. Lately, because of deteriorating economic conditions, poor families have been resorting to this system to provide their children with an education. Most hosts are friends or relatives of the parents, other parents would pay a middleman to find a host family to place their children.

      The overwhelming majority of those children are fed, clothed and educated by their host families. I know of this because I grew-up in an area where this was very common and seldom did we ever hear of children being abused. Of the few cases of abuse that did occur, the parents either took back their children or placed them in an other family. I know of many Haitians, many my own relatives, who are grateful to their host families for having provided them with an education and have maintained contact with them. Of course, as with all children living away from their biological parents, the chances of being abused are greatly increased, especially if the parents live too far to visit or are deceased. It is what is referred to as "the step-child syndrome". This is no different than the American foster system where some children suffer horrific abuse. What we Haitians call restavek is not the system itself, but particularly those children who are abuse and neglected. What is needed is a system to identify and report abuse.

      Often times the host families do not intend to abuse the children they care for but find themselves overwhelmed because they underestimated the burden of raising other people's children. Some times the host family is no richer than the biological family and genuinely cannot afford to send those children to school, especially if you consider the financial tole 4 hurricanes and an earthquake can have on an already poor population. I'd like to know what UNICEF is doing to provide running water and financial support to those families so that they can afford to send those kids to school. What are they doing in terms of building schools in the country side, particularly high-schools?

      November 24, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Reply
    • From My Perspective

      Your description troubles me, almost as much as the cases of severe abuse, because you think you did something noble. You don't have something to be proud of here. You don't "hire" children, period. You adopt them, love them, protect them, promote their happiness, and treat them no different than if they were your biological children. Anything less or any other intentions, that child should not be in your home. She was a maid whom you did not pay a wage to – there's a word for that... You may have fed her & sent her to school, but be honest with yourself, what you did was not out of the goodness of your heart, but for your own benefit, her service. The fact that this young lady grew up with that second-class treatment and still found the self-worth to make something of herself speaks to her accomplishment, not yours.

      November 25, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Reply
      • philomen

        Your perspective is that of someone who lives in a developed country with access to free education and a number of social services. The fact that he gave her a good education is the greatest gift he could have ever given her. When people take in foster children, they are given financial support. He payed for her tuition, school uniforms, shoes, books, school supplies out of his own pocket for years. Asking for her to help around the house in return is not too much to ask considering that she would have performed those same chores had she stayed with her parents. My great aunt raised many of those kids. They were well-fed, clothed and given the best education she could afford. On Saturdays, she would to walk miles to the river to hand-wash the kids clothes. It would take all day; she had to go at dawn so that the clothes would have time to dry before sunset. When she would return home, she would find that the kids would have already cooked her dinner without her having to ask them. When someone is doing so much for you, you'd have to be an ingrate not to return the favor. Now the that kids have grown to become successful, helped renovate her house, allowing her to have running water and electricity.

        November 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
      • From My Perspective

        To clarify, my perspective is that of a haitian girl who was "sent to live with an aunt". So this is a topic that is very personal to me. Children are not mules. Even if they are not yours biologically. Even if you feed & clothe them, they do not become your servants.

        November 25, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
      • philomen

        I guess since I grew up in a home where I was the eldest and the only girl and therefore did most of the chores, I don't consider it abuse as long as it's age-appropriate and the child is made to feel appreciated for the contributions. Plus having known of kids who were sent back to their parents because they caused too much grief and can't spell their own name as a consequence, I just have a different view. It's not ideal, but it's not the worst option.

        November 25, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
      • philomen

        I hope my reply didn't come off as offensive. To be clear, I fully respect your perspective because they are based on your own personal experience. It's just that mine, also having been raised by an aunt, is different. I don't object to the system, but to how it is practiced sometimes, hence the need for better monitoring. My relatives and I were never made to feel like mule or servants, but to be fair, some people treat their own children like that.

        November 25, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • ElisaSXM

      Bless you ! I agree EDUCATION-EDUCATION-EDUCATION !!! I employ several Haitian people and lack of education is holding them back. As adults it is hard to make a change in them, but their children, thank goodness are being raised with a "European standard" education in a tri – lingual community. They will be the ones to make a change for the better, I hope they take some of it back to Haiti one day and be part of a better world there.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:42 am | Reply
  24. marc509


    November 24, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Reply
    • paul

      lightend up on the caps dude

      November 24, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Reply
    • brant

      Uuuh, I think this post is a joke, or else really misinformed.

      November 28, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Reply
      • Love

        A comment for Haiti! There is soeonme in Ardsley collecting stuffed animals for Haitian children, which seems like such an easy way to help for all us who have so many we can donate. Let me know if I can send you the info.[]

        September 14, 2012 at 12:35 am |
  25. jimmymax

    "freed slaves"? Sounds sort of like "Egyptian democracy".

    November 24, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Reply
  26. Hilo, HI

    They are also being exploited by the Pope. The No Birth Control Mandate for Catholics is killing them, setting them all up for all kinds of desperate situations. So sad for these kids, and good for this person stepping up to help.

    November 24, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Reply
  27. pseudobliss

    This just in! Americans use knives to slice off the most sensative part of their healthy son's weenie at birth and with no anesthesia just to prevent masturbation and a load of dubious "medical benefits". The US is using US tax money to export this practice to Africa in, yet, another attempt at colonizing the already troubled land. 10 out of 10 baby boys scream themselves into bloody shock from the pain. american boys deserve protection from barbarism of ancient blood letting rituals.

    November 24, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Reply
  28. janus

    so, let me get this right!
    blacks treating and abusing blacks based on history and culture
    and we are supposed to care?
    enough of this B S!

    November 24, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Reply
    • philomen

      Your veiled attempt at alleviating the guilt you feel from you ancestors' past sins is flawed. The child abuse going on in Haiti is no more historical or cultural than that currently going on in the American foster system.

      November 24, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Reply
      • janus


        Your veiled attempt at alleviating the guilt you feel from you ancestors' past sins is flawed

        uh...no guilt here mate!
        i could care less what these tribal azzbackwards people do to themselves
        if they kill maim torture and eat each other-i do not care!
        no guilt!
        ps. i am native american and over 50 million of my ancestors have been slaughtered
        but to the victor go the spoils
        no guilt here
        in fact-i hope they kill each other

        November 24, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
  29. janus

    remind me again please!
    why should i care?
    we have more important problems to deal with in our own country!

    November 24, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Reply
  30. accordingtoGOP

    I bet the GOP far right would LOVE to have this piece of land as an example of how they would rule the U.S.:

    "If you're poor....blame yourself. We don't need social services for anyone...for any reason. Let them die if they have no medical insurance. The EPA? Why do we need them – the environment they are living in is just fine – it cuts down on the "job creator's" profits if we force them to manage the air / water / land / pollution quality. As we are beholden to Grover Norquist...no taxes are to be raised for any reason. Did I say ANY reason?"

    Vote GOP if you like the conditions of Haiti.

    November 24, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Reply
  31. Abdul Al-Sharrif

    It is the most natural and loving gift of Freedom is submission to Islam . Islam will give freedom and hope and restore the dear children's honor , as well as make Haiti a healthy and prosperous nation . Islam is the way to freedom and dignity for all mankind . Islam will free Haiti .

    November 24, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Reply
    • janus

      islam is the most ridiculous of the ridiculous religions!
      all u brownies need to be eradicated!
      the sooner we rid mother earth of u brownies, the better we all will be!

      November 24, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Reply
    • paul

      are u on drugs habib?

      November 24, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Reply
    • Katie

      You've got to be kidding. Look at all the countries who are full of muslims, and you will see many who can't possibly be described as prosperous, let alone can the people be described as prosperous individually, or free. Muslims are slaves to whichever imam is screeching the loudest and the last thing Haiti needs is more slavery or miserable poverty.

      November 24, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Reply
    • brant

      Islam is slavery and degradation.

      November 28, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Reply
  32. ogunlaja taiyetunde elizabeth

    Having gone through all other pple views,am still of the opinion that whoever is in position to offer help should pls do so without rolling drums other than much talk and no action,thanks and God bless

    November 24, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Reply
    • contraryjim

      Reliance on some god seldom works. An honest people can elect an honest government.

      November 27, 2011 at 11:21 am | Reply
  33. ogunlaja taiyetunde elizabeth

    Also I can see corruption everywhere even in my country (Nigeria).funds are sent down to help and alleviate poverty in executing meaningful project but rather it gets to d hands of our greedy politicians who siphone and pocket the funds for their selfish interest.

    November 24, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Reply
    • philomen

      That's not the case with Haiti. The funds are not given to government official. Charities operate completely independently of the Haitian government. However money pledged to Haiti by foreign countries is being administered by the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission which is lead by representatives of donor countries.

      November 24, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Reply
  34. melvis

    It's al Bush's fault

    November 24, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Reply
  35. meeme

    these photos aren't even that good.

    November 25, 2011 at 12:48 am | Reply
  36. Denice

    Thank you for keeping our eyes on the prize. Help is on the way.

    November 25, 2011 at 1:03 am | Reply
    • Jeff

      Thank you for taking an inrtseet in my blog and for introducing me to your brilliant site! I look forward to reading more!Our hearts are turned and our prayers are lifted for the hurting people of Haiti.

      July 1, 2012 at 6:04 am | Reply
  37. J. Guilloux

    please do something to the haitian kids they are the future for haiti, as i was one too, and now i got a lot of knowledges,and a fuetured artiste. thanks

    November 25, 2011 at 3:04 am | Reply
  38. B. Lamer

    The real issue here is that niqqers are stupid and will never amount to anything. They are genetically inferior and deserve to be slaves. They will ALWAYS live in poverty, because they are inferior. Quite trying to be politically correct, and admit what you allready know to be the truth. They are inherently violent, ignorant, and promiscuous. Also, they have terrible body odor.

    November 25, 2011 at 5:05 am | Reply
    • EPA Pae

      Learn how to spell you disgusting repulsive ugly worthless piece of trash racist.

      April 19, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  39. silvia b

    2 words: birth control....

    November 25, 2011 at 8:59 am | Reply
  40. Haitian Author, Jean Pe

    Fake, sick story like this story and reporters created for special mission against Haiti and some other foreign countries, are what troubled Haiti the most. What those stupid reporters with their already mission against Haiti do, they go to report traduced stories in order to distract the world from knowing or seeing the truth.

    Restavek is no issue in Haiti, but the REAL TRUE it is a problem derived by the main problem of Haiti; and the main problem of Haiti is the abused by the U.S. system and a few foreign people that has been playing against Haiti for so long that is the real threat and the great bane of Haiti and Haitian people. And that, until it stop Haiti will never be able to sustain itself and no government, unless one government with no DIASPORA minded.

    Restavak? What's the big deal with that? A country where a poor person working for another real poor person. What else do you expect?

    November 25, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Reply
    • Patrick Nommensen

      "Restavak? What's the big deal with that? A country where a poor person working for another real poor person. What else do you expect?"

      However, often times it's more than just a poor person working for another poor person. You need to know that these people working are children and many times are heavily abused. Please visit our site at http://www.rfahaiti.org

      April 19, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  41. ajkinajo andrew

    Remember. that little island was the first african country that got their independance in the world. they were freed from slavery.What did America do? they didn't like the idea a little black nation being free because at that time; it was sending a wrong message to the rest of the countries where they had slaves. For this particular reason America spent 40 years not recognized our independance. It was "embargo" From there everything fell apart,we couldn't trade anything etc....

    November 26, 2011 at 9:27 am | Reply
    • contraryjim

      Haiti got independence in 1840 – What has it been doing for itself after those 40 years in 1880? Why did they support Papa Doc & Baby Doc & the hoodlums since. People will get the government they deserve.

      November 27, 2011 at 11:15 am | Reply
      • Wiki

        Elia Perez Posted on Kim thank you! Lupus is not the end of the world. I fight and challenge mlseyf daily. Sometimes to the point of exhaustion, but I NEED to squeeze everything I can out of my days! I have always been like that. To my family it is more significant now the cotributions I make to our family. Stay strong Sis!

        April 8, 2012 at 2:02 am |
  42. fritz cesar

    this situation really touch my heart seeing my people are going through all these miserable time. Haiti as been going through this for years and nothing has been done about it. i wish i have what it take to help my country but at this point all i can do is pray for Haiti to get better one day with the power of god I love my country will always do. i remember when i was young growing up in Haiti, life was beautiful i enjoyed every moment that i spent there at one point, i didn't want to trade Haiti for any other country but the fact that our people does not want to collaborate, and get together to make a change that,s why Haiti now going through such a hardship at this moment.

    November 26, 2011 at 9:55 am | Reply
  43. Cassandra Chu

    ... wow. I'm surprised that CNN is publishing on a topic that's different from the "jewish plight".

    November 27, 2011 at 10:45 am | Reply
  44. como1

    As callous as this sounds. Not one more penny for Haiti after the $6billion that simply disappeared after the earthquake aide was totally stolen. Any new money will simply be stolen.

    November 27, 2011 at 10:48 am | Reply
    • Andy

      You are not only fabulous, but geoeunrs. I know that my friends at Packer (in Brooklyn) just raised some serious cash at a bake sale. We are talking a heck of a lot of cupcakes! It's great when we all come together to help.[]

      September 13, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Reply
  45. mm

    the main problem is that the world has too many people. there is not enough resources, to sustain this huge population. In the musim countries they are still having 4/6 and even sometimes more kida per family, see how the middle east countries are erupting in violence, egypt, yemen, syria, to name a few. the resouce crunch combined with global inflation is leaving the youth of these countries with no job, no food, no future prospect. tey are revolting, but not solving the population crunch. Then there is china and India with huge population that are hungry and being the educated these two will take up a lot of the jobs and consume a lot of resources. As emerging economies they will hog a lot of resources. now the other poor countries with less education but a huge population is bound to face immense poverty and hardship and this includes Africa, the marginal countries like Haiti,pakistan and more. It is a chaos waiting to happen. even greeks are bankrupt, and italy is soon to follow. there is simply not enough resources to go around.

    November 27, 2011 at 10:51 am | Reply
    • Shifa

      So is the city health deentrmpat concerned that cholera could be released into the community during sewer overflow events? Can we expect to see cholera showing up in water samples taken from the Gowanus? And is there greater risk to those who boat in places like the Gowanus Canal following sewer overflow events?

      September 12, 2012 at 5:23 am | Reply
  46. Plug1

    The u.s would like to turn Haiti,into a resort as well as Cuba, and that will make the indigenous, servants

    November 27, 2011 at 11:07 am | Reply
  47. Truth

    Sterilize all Haitians.

    November 27, 2011 at 11:07 am | Reply
  48. contraryjim

    A people get the government they deserve. Until the people of Haiti themselves throw off corruption, they will get corrupt government. Child slavery could not happen without others turning a blind eye. The US should stop supporting those who are just desiring to tap us for funds and let the Haitians find their own way..

    November 27, 2011 at 11:08 am | Reply
  49. Steffie1608

    No child in hearth deserve to work as a slave. They do not deserve to be abuse. This practice " restavek" should be illegal. UNICEF should be included in this tragedy. It need to stop. How do you expect a contry to be better when more than 75% of the children are not educated? Haitians need to think this clearly. You may receive aid from the united states, france, china,..ect but if you do not have the willing to change your way, the country will never change and there will be more misery.

    November 27, 2011 at 11:19 am | Reply
    • Patrick

      Hi Steffie-

      The practice actually is illegal but it is not enforced. Check out our website at http://www.rfahaiti.org to learn more.

      November 27, 2011 at 11:21 am | Reply
  50. RevJackson

    White people are to blame for this

    November 27, 2011 at 11:41 am | Reply
  51. voiceofreason

    It would be interesting to identify how much money the US is sending to Haiti, who are the recipients and method of accountability of how this money is distributed and spent.

    November 27, 2011 at 11:45 am | Reply
  52. Alkebu

    Who is keeping a watchful eye on the "Child Slavery" in the United States. I believe we have enough on our plate as is with Congress failing to act on domestic issues at hand. Grand standing and ignoring the plight of the nation.

    November 27, 2011 at 11:49 am | Reply
  53. djwazu

    First and fore most, everyone should be aware Haiti has paid dearly for being the first to revolt against and abolish slavery and has been paying the price ever since.
    I am not giving a pass to the Haitian leaders who have been incompetent to resolving the countries problems even with the obvious examples of other caribbean countries doing very well near by. I've had those so called "Restavek children" living with my family when I was growing up in Haiti and the system is slavery in a way but it's also by default. If I didn't have any other option for food, clothing, and shelter then to stay with a family in exchange and hope for the best, that is what I or anyone else would do. Unfortunately human nature is always a factor is some cases and bad things do occur!
    America is one of the greatest countries in the world but take a good look around and you could find similar situation right under our own noses. Take for example the minimum wage is it a living wage or is it a soft form of slavery? I would argue that it is, but if you don't have a choice or have made the wrong choices in life then you will work for a minimum wage.

    November 27, 2011 at 11:50 am | Reply
  54. Bob Hope's Ghost

    Look, Buckwheat is living in Haiti. OTAY!

    November 27, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Reply
  55. MLatino

    Haiti's history is tragic. I love that someone thought it was Africa, and many are denying it's in America. Haiti is in the Caribbean, which is in the continent of North America. Founded in 1804, it was a country that was founded on a slave rebellion. Many slave came together and decided to take matters into their own hands and become independent from France. Over the years they had many corrupt leaders who served themselves and not the people. In 1990, ex-priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected president in the first ever elections in Haiti's history, with the promise to change the nation. He put in many measures to help the poor (which was the vast majority of the people) and as hope began to come to the country the elite class supported a coup to overthrown Aristide. I spent much of my undergrad senior year take courses in Latin American history and I specifically studied Haiti because it's a nation that's so close, 681 miles, to the riches and most powerful nation in the world, yet that nation be so poor. I personally don't blame the US for it's troubles, as the issues are telling in this aspect. When the Haitian Earthquake hit, Aristide and former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, who could give many Middle Eastern dictators a run for their money when it comes to be ruthless, both applied to re-enter the country to try and help with the rebuilding. Duvalier was granted access to re-enter almost right away, and Aristide was denied. Eventually the people protested and Aristide was able to comeback to the country, but that's an example of the corruption that takes place in this nation.

    November 27, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Reply
    • RevJackson

      What are you talking about? White people opened the black box of slavery.

      November 27, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Reply
    • wow

      I'm glad somebody pointed out that Haiti is not a nation of freed slaves, but a nation of ppl who fought against and bested their oppressors.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Reply
  56. PIPPO42

    What and Who give sons and daughters of former slave owners the rights to decide what slavery is???????

    November 27, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      Isn't it presumptuous of you to think that CNN are the "sons and daughters of former slave owners?"
      But I guess you make sweeping generalizations like this everyday to exonerate yourself from your racism.

      November 27, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Reply
  57. arbilester

    I think I read this in a book "The uses of Haiti", over a decade ago. Glad to see CNN is catching up on 1994.

    November 27, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Reply
  58. Dan

    This is why I didn't give any organizations for Haiti a dime after the earthquake. None of that money went to the people. It was all sucked up by fat people who ran the organizations. It was the biggest legal scam in history. Remember "text HAITI?" These kids will simply go back to eating mud cookies.

    November 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Reply
  59. james

    The people from Africa that became slaves shipped to the America's were not kidnapped by whites – they were sold by their own people to the whites – the slave trade was a booming business in Africa for hundreds if not thousands of years before the whites were involved -there were many African Kings whose wealth depended on the slave trade – it was the most valuable commodity they had – this does not excuse the slavery in the America's yet it does put it into its proper perspective.

    November 27, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      I don't get why people still cry about slavery? Aren't they happy to be here in the United States, or not? Black people are very successful today, many have lots of money. We have a black President for crying out loud. What gives?

      November 27, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  60. hope

    It's so sad when poverty disrupts the normal life of a child. Shame on Haiti and its President to allow these children to fall in the grips of servitude without saying a word or asking for help. Disturbing, too, that one would allow a non-profit organization dedicated to education to exploit the children as slaves!

    What is this world coming to?

    November 27, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Reply
  61. Genie

    I am a first generation Haitian. This practice of people sending their children in the city to work for a family in the HOPES of being educated is nothing new. My mother is a product of that. She was born in the rural part of Haiti. Both my maternal grandparents died by the time she was 14 so she was sent to work for a family who DID NOT give her an education. She talks about it all the time. It was hard all she did was work work work, they sent her to an evening class but the teachers did not know what they were doing. This is a very common practice in the rest of the world. I am glad that it is being exposed but the unfortunate thing is that since it is an accepted practice people do not see the handicap it brings. My mom blames this practice on her difficulty to read and write. She said if she was given the chance she wouldn't struggle so much to read and write in both French and English. I am with this campaign to deliver education to the world. As a teacher i see the importance of education for all children it should not be denied or made unavailable...i just want to cry about the whole thing sometimes. GO COMMON!!!! ce tout!

    November 27, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Reply
  62. jenn

    Enough talk...... Let us take action by helping Haiti to get back on her feet, one step at a time. God bless you all.

    November 27, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Reply
    • Haitian Author, Jean Pe

      Restavek is not Haiti problem like i said.

      The restavek is as compare as to Haitians who risking their lives taking boat to go to other countries and those who go to live in misery in Dominican Republican by crossing a bridge. And the same reasons people risk their lives to take boat and risk their live living in fear of being murder in DR, are the same reasons that caused the so-called Restavek to be existed.

      November 29, 2011 at 2:51 am | Reply
  63. Daiel J. Lavigne

    The problem isn't about skin color or education / lack thereof.

    The problem is 'Humanity" and its infection by 'The Madness of Greed'.

    Cure that madness / cure Humanity's woes. Its that simple.

    While trying to do that:

    Remember to "Help The Poor" as does MedicAngel®, everyday, in Cambodia.


    November 27, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Reply
  64. lili dauphin

    The only thing that can save us is Human compassion. In the absence of human compassion, we may never experience true happiness. We're supposed to protect and care for the young. They are our most valuable commodity. Child slavery has always been very hard for me to swallow. It's so personal. The sensitive subject matter has always played a role in my writing. My book "I Will Fly Again," gives us an account of the sad face of child slavery in Haiti. Many said they would never have known of the practice had they not read my books. The best thing for us to do is to educate others about this horrific crime against humanity. Hopefully, we could all become enlightened enough to do what is right. Treating every child with love and dignity is the right thing to do. It's very easy and we must all play a role.

    November 29, 2011 at 12:29 am | Reply
  65. lili dauphin

    Child slavery can be eradicated if everyone can find a way to get involved. Sometimes people do not care to get involve in matters that do not affect them personally. Mostly, people are afraid to get involved because of fear. Some may not wish to accept the truth. They're either unable to accept it or their own inner guilt may play a role. I was scolded by some for revealing the truth in "I Will Fly Again." It's a huge price to pay but, in the end, it's worth it. Like they say, the truth will always set us free.

    November 29, 2011 at 12:44 am | Reply
  66. lili dauphin

    The restavek system is not caused by slavery like many assume. Slavery has been gone many moons ago. Those who enslave children today were not alive during slavery time. Nothing should be blamed for this kind of human tragedy. This is the result of a lack of kindness and compassion. Let us not find blame for our malevolence. Let us instead examine our actions as humans. Let us illuminate our souls with love and mercy. Let us care, let us love. Let us give. We can do that because we have free will. In the end, we will all win.

    November 29, 2011 at 12:56 am | Reply
  67. Haitian Author, Jean Pe

    Restavek is not Haiti problem like i said.

    The restavek is as compare as to Haitians who risking their lives taking boat to go to other countries and those who go to live in misery in Dominican Republican by crossing a bridge. And the same reasons people risk their lives to take boat and risk their live living in fear of being murder in DR, are the same reasons that caused the so-called Restavek to be existed.

    Therefore, talking about restavek or focus on it is not helping Haiti. In fact, it prevent Haiti problems from being solved because many people will use the "restavek theme" as a new way to make money on Haiti as they have always done by using "children and women" name as a way to collect easy money on behalf of Haiti, while the main problems that causes Restavek will never be resolved.

    I want to see more actions and more stories written which based more fact instead of a mantra ideas.

    How come someone never live in Haiti and suddenly starts talking and worrying about Haiti restavek lifestyles?

    November 29, 2011 at 2:50 am | Reply
  68. Gio Hudock-Alston

    In May 2012, I will be traveling to Haiti to aid in the construction of a school along with 17 of my fellow students from Lower Merion High School. I need your help in order to help the children of Haiti. Take a look at the links posted below for more information and ways to contribute towards the construction costs of the school.



    Thank you so much for helping me make a difference in the lives of so many Haitian children,

    Gio H-A
    11th Grade at Lower Merion High School

    December 1, 2011 at 4:14 am | Reply
    • Patrick

      Cool! I actually live in Chester Country – so not far at all from where you live and I'm also a high school student. I'm not sure what aspect of your project deals with the slavery situation in Haiti among children but ti seems to be a great project you all or working on. If you want to check out what I'm doing go to http://www.rfahaiti.org.

      December 1, 2011 at 6:09 am | Reply
      • Bob Walton

        Patrick- Professor Bob Corbett of Webster University shares his research and materials on Haiti. http://www.webster.edu/~corbetre/haiti/haiti.html You may wish to join Corbett's Haitian Issues email list.

        Also, Google: "Bob Corbett Haiti Webster" no quotes)

        December 17, 2011 at 10:50 am |
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    How to help The Children of Haiti? Haitians could help themselves and were doing that just find until western greed turned its eyes towards their direction. Let’s look at just a few. How about the 90 million gold francs Haiti was forced to pay France for its “independence debt.”? What France claims it suffered from the loss of slave labor when Haitians led a successful revolt to free them selves from the French? How the implementation of “Trade Liberalization” has subjected this country, like the plunder from cheap U.S Rice and other foreign products from places like South Korea. So there is a way to help Haitian Children short of another Macandal Revolt and that is by assisting Haiti to become self sufficient and tear down the Mulatto Class strangle hold on the business economy of Haiti.

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      Part1: http://youtu.be/dw2UtheBhog
      Part3: http://youtu.be/ezvCxlIFrtI

      December 5, 2011 at 2:18 am | Reply
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    December 4, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Reply
  72. MoneywithSense

    Everyone has something to say about race and blame but no one here seems to have an idea of how to move forward. Trying to pinpoint who to blame leads to nothing but racist comments...so just stop. Can we take a step back and think of how to problem solve. I can't pretend to have an answer but I'm sure if we all started thinking about it more, we'd come up with SOMETHING.

    December 6, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Reply
    • Patrick

      Thank you!! Check us out at http://www.rfahaiti.org if you have any ideas or would like to learn more.

      December 6, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Reply

    none of those pictures are related to the story; there should be more accuracy when reporting on such an important issue (Slavery in Haiti), the slave owners will not let you get close enough to take a single picture............

    December 7, 2011 at 8:19 am | Reply
  74. David crandall

    Americans don't want to hear about poor countries. We already know and could care less. We have our own problems and poor people, many are exploited. We need to keep out money here and help our own.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Reply
  75. Bob Walton

    Restavek is a Haitian cultural tradition that trades a child's labor for its survivival. The children who are born in poverty and are unwilling or unable to work don't survive. Americans don't have to like it but unless we're ready to force cultural change and willing to finance a replacement system at the cost of assisting our own poor, we need to keep our collective mouths shut. Restavek ensures, to some extent, the survival of poor children from poor homes who live under a government unresourced to care for their poor.

    December 17, 2011 at 10:19 am | Reply
  76. Page887

    Indeed, the stench of racism and eviloutionary psychology is strong here. If parents cant support their children, they shouldnt have them. Whats the predominant religion over there? Catholics? As for the strongest surviving, say that when your child has an illness, and needs medical help. Do you buy booze with the money? Talk s'more garbage. Page887.

    December 18, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Reply
  77. Zaky

    But I was hoping oenosme would deliver race videos and photos to Port au Prince, so the people there could see our massive human outpouring on their behalf. Uh, wow. I think you need to pull your head out of your *ss. Do you really think the people in Haiti give a sh%@ about a bunch of privileged yuppies going for a run and giving a tiny amount of money?? You do realize that being able to take part in a fun run, while rolling your eyes at the music and acting like a petulent brat about having to listen to some speeches is a privilege most of them will never have. These people have lost their homes, loved ones, and are starving, and you actually think your running around in a circle means jack to them. Wow.AMBY COMMENTS: JJ, I understand your cynicism. I think we all sometimes feel the same in the face of overwhelming situations like the Haiti earthquake. I'm not a Pollyanna, and I don't believe a fund-raising fun run in New York will have a big effect in Haiti. Still, your tone seems unnecessarily negative and aggressive. I chose to believe in activism and optimism, on any scale, even very modest. I think those are core qualities of many runners.I could have slept late on a Saturday morning in PA. Instead my colleagues and I got up at 5 am and drove into NYC to join 10,000 other runners in Central Park. The many Haitian speakers seemed to think the run was a good idea. I do too. We raised some money. If we also raised some Haitian spirits somewhere, that would be another great contribution.

    March 4, 2012 at 1:44 am | Reply
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  81. pianki

    Why the faces of those people who are doing the exploitation are never shown? Haiti was a productive and self sustaining nation of people until you know who decided to believe Haitians should become receivers of handouts rather than producers for self. Haiti use to export foods that others wanted now the U.S and others dump products onto Haiti markets whereas locals can not compete any longer. What happened to Haiti’s rice industry? Look at how France (a former colony and target of French aggression) made Haitians pay for their freedom after the Haitian Revolution where by Slaves rose up and defeated their exploitive master. The United States stood by France, her white NATO partner. Why not label France as a evil regime when we see her control the currencies of her former Franco Phone colonies in black Africa with that demonic CFA Pact. The Countries are required to deposit 65% of each dollar into the French Treasury. On top of that they are charged something called a "liability tax" of another 20% leaving them with only 15 cent out of each dollar to survive and if they should require more they must borrow their own money with interest. French companies get first choice of refusal of construction projects even if another company offers to do it for less. CNN never show the Faces of those who are benefiting and stand to profit from what ends up to be pictures of little black African children who are suffering and the victims of poverty. I have witness this same sort of coverage 40 years ago and then the Faces of those who benefit was never showed. That’s reason why there should be independent News services other than what we are given. Obama should push for the immediate reunification of Haitian families and the eliminations of all Haitian debt. Haiti needs mechanization and free trade not foreign perpetual aid.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:48 am | Reply
  82. Amanecer

    We did order more Barbancourt! Folks loved it. I'm a light weight so had to have mine mixed with a juice deelmy for rum runner. Most folks drank it straight! We raised $300 and Harlem Vintage matched, so a total of $600 went to NYers for Haiti ( part of UNICEF). Not huge but every little bit helps. Check out L'ex Cafe on 107th & Manhattan- great b'fast grub and they have boxes for supplies donation. The owner is Haitian-born, Evens, and they are sending a container down in two weeks .

    April 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Reply
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