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Slavery

Modern day slavery exists in many forms

Whether the victim is tricked into owing a debt, forced into servitude, or sent to work as an unpaid domestic, all are forms of slave labor.

Sources in the international community say that enslavement is a threat to anybody by virtue of random circumstances not under their control. In some instances, victims are lured by promises of a better life. Preying upon the destitute and naïve from underdeveloped countries, seeking a way out of their misery, these predators ensnare and coerce their victims into debt bondage.

An illustration of this method of slavery is the plight of illegal crossing over the border from Mexico into the U.S. Lured by rumors of work, they are picked up during the border cross and told there are jobs waiting for them. They ride for days, caged within the vehicle, with no chance to eat or relieve themselves.

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Modern Slavery Persists in Debt Bondage

Debt bondage occurs when a person is forced into debt, or voluntarily commits themselves as a form of collateral to pay off a debt.

The punitive nature of the system undervalues work performed and undercredits the debt being paid down. Circumstances of debt bondage are uncertain as to scope of tasks performed and duration of labor. As a result little progress is made towards paying down the debt. It can often turn into an intergenerational debt burden.

The United Nations officially considers debt bondage as a type of "modern day slavery". Since the mid-fifties, it has been legally banned by article 1(a) of the United Nations 1956 Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery. But nonetheless, it continues unabated in underdeveloped countries, such as South Asia and the Caribbean. In these places, no infrastructure exists to declare bankruptcy or be protected by consumer protection laws. Small- or mid-size businesses can't get approved for credit because they own no land titles or liquidity assets as forms of collateral.

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Child Labor in Haiti or Restavek

The term used for children with this arrangement is restavek (one who stays).

Haiti suffers the reputation as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Many Haitian families cannot afford the care of their own children, so they send them to live with rich families as unpaid domestics or Restaveks.

Sometimes a restavek will live with a family, who can afford to educate them and give them adequate living conditions. If not, will use the floor as their bed and be subjected to sexual abuse.

Restaveks are domestic slaves, and the majority of them are girls, 80% of them. They perform household chores, not for pay, but in return for shelter, food, clothing, and education, usually of inferior quality. Even under optimal conditions, restaveks have inferior status in the household, even with peers and younger.

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Child Slave and Trafficking Statistics

The child slave trade has been growing exponentially during the last decade.

After landing in the streets, 2.8 million juveniles are snatched by pornographers. Nearly 1 million children are forced to prostitute themselves. What is even more horrific is their extreme youth, averaged at age 12.

Within U.S. borders, 200,000 juveniles are at peril for being exploited within the sex trade each year. It is estimated child trafficking in the world market is pulling in $12 billion plus every year, affecting 1.2 million plus children. Women and girls make up 80% of victims, half of them minors. Numbering 300,000-400,000, they are kidnapped, bought, and sold between countries for use in the sex trade business.

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