So here I go. I have been knee-deep in the trafficking research, formulating my questions for my dissertation proposal, and making the contacts I need to make. This is research that will put me in Haiti multiple times over the next couple of years (which I hope my new bride as of 2/16/13 will be able to accompany me on). It'll put me in uncomfortable situations in dangerous places, meeting people, gathering stories, participating, and praying. God has a bigger purpose then this.
As I sit and gather the facts, there are a few facts that are astonishing to me and I want to just share these briefly, as well as a few resources for you to look at:
- Of the 100,000 trafficking victims in the United States, we have only 100 beds in recovery homes. That is only enough beds to aid in the recovery of .1% of trafficked victims
- Today, there is an estimated 250 million modern slaves worldwide. The majority are in the domestic labor industry
- There are more slaves today than at any point in history, even looking at the Atlantic Slave Trade from Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries.
- Restaveks (French for "To Stay With") are child laborers in Haiti who live with a host family as their personal servant.
- It is estimated that 30% of Haitian households have a restavek child. This is 225,000 children in a country of 8 million people.
- 2/3 of these restaveks are girls under the age of 18
- Through acts of violence and unkept promises, these children are forced to remain in the restavek system. They are social outcasts, viewed as societal "Others," and dehumanized.
- Parents willingly sell their children into restavek for the promise of a better life for them in the city, but more often than not they just need one less mouth to feed in a country that has the average worker making less than $1 USD per day.
- How are United States-based non-governmental organizations addressing the issue of restavek?
- How effective are their efforts to rehabilitate/reintegrate these children into Haitian society and in the eradication of modern slavery in Haiti?
- Resolution Hope
- Free the Slaves
- Abolition International
- Little Footprints, Big Steps
- Jean R. Cadet Restavek Organization
- Restavek Freedom Foundation