CaribWorldNews, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Nov. 19, 2009: Global international rights group, Amnesty International, is putting the spotlight on child slavery in Haiti.
`Most child domestic workers in Haiti live as virtual slaves,` said Gerardo Ducos, Haiti researcher at Amnesty International. `They work in inhuman conditions, suffering violence and abuse by their hosts, only for a plate of food.`
15-year-old Regina told Amnesty International that when she was 10, she was sent to work as a domestic servant, but she ran away because the beatings became unbearable. She spent the next four years at Foyer Maurice Sixto, a shelter for children who have been domestic workers. During that time she was able to go to school. When she turned 14, Régina went back home, were she suffered further abuse.
`Girls in Haiti are trapped in a spiral of poverty and violence,` said Gerardo Ducos. `The eradication of this modern form of slavery is the only way to protect the rights of thousands of children.`
AI is urging authorities in Haiti to enact legislation to protect children working as domestic help in conditions that amount to slavery. Many Haitian families, too poor to support their children, are forced to send them to work as domestic help or restaveks. The children- most of them girls – end up working long hours cleaning, cooking, fetching water for the whole household and looking after other children in the family.
UNICEF estimates that there were as many as 100,000 girl domestic workers in Haiti in 2007.