Restavec Outlawed: Haitians to be Educated on its Criminality

Modern-day slavery or human trafficking, as it is officially known, thrives in Haiti under the name restavec. It is a shadow community benefiting from enforced child labor due to poor Haitians' inability to provide for their children. In 2014 Haiti's legislature passed a law criminalizing the practice of restavec, which now demands the arrests of those engaging in it.


How children end up becoming domestic slaves, suffering neglect and abuse, happens as a result of poor parents' desperation. They cannot afford to feed and clothe their children, so they send them to to live with better-off families with assurances the children will be taken care of in return for performing domestic duties.

But restavec families exploit the children, doing things like forcing the child to sleep on the floor, separating them from the rest of the family, and forcing them to beg in the streets for food. They are also over-burdened with work and sometimes sexually abused. The assurances to restavec parents their child will receive an education fall by the wayside.

Restavec is routinely accepted by many Haitians but now the new law demands judges, law enforcement, and the public be informed about the abuses of restavec, and the responsibility of reporting to authorities any cases of restavec they become aware of.

Recently a one-day conference was held at Broward College to talk about the implementation of the new law, and through what channels information about the practice will be disseminated.

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