(Examiner.com - Episcopal Examiner) - By Coralie Jensen
Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore started the DNA Foundation soon after the Haiti earthquake on January 12th to eliminate child sex slavery worldwide and to help raise awareness about this horrific problem, change cultural stereotypes, and rehabilitate the innocent victims.
Because of the glaring increase in poverty due to the earthquake, the practice of people sending their children to live with another for economic reasons is on the rise. The practice has been around for centuries and is now illegal, but the law against it is not enforced.
Jean-Robert Cadet, a former Restavek and author of Restavek, which means “stay with,” about the plight of the slave children in Haiti, told CNN:
Once children enter the family, they become domestic slave and they are at the mercy of everyone in the house. The only thing worse is if the child is a girl, because there is sexual abuse and the risk of pregnancy once she reaches puberty . . . about 80% if the slaves are girls and they are so vulnerable.
Cadet has little hope that the problem will be solved without making sure parents can afford to raise the children. That means jobs.
A Restavek lives with another family, maybe even relatives, and is forced to do household chores with little food, no pay, whippings, and attacks by both rats and kidnappers who steal them and push them into prostitution.
Truthout tells the story of Helia Lajeunesse, a former child slave herself. She sent four of her five children into slavery because she feared they would die of hunger. Now Helia has become a children’s rights advocate. When her husband was murdered, she was left with five children with no way to feed them.
The grassroots group Commission of Women Victim to Victim (KOFAVIV) finally gave her some training. “That gave me consciousness and I went and got my children back. I said to myself, no matter what, I am going to keep my children. Now I’m with my four children [one of her five died in the earthquake].”
** To watch some videos on the subject of child slavery in Haiti follow the links to:
"CHILD SLAVERY - RESTAVEKS IN HAITI"
"THE RESTAVEK FOUNDATION - CNN"