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Type of document: News
Topic: Trafficking patterns
Geographic descriptors: Haiti
Language: English
Source: releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=71139
Date of publication: 23 August 2006
Long Abstract: Haitian Rights Group Calls on Haiti to End Child Trafficking

8/23/2006 11:16:00 AM

To: National and International desks

Contact: Jocelyn McCalla of National Coalition for Haitian Rights, 212-337-0005, or jmccalla@nchr.org

NEW YORK, Aug. 23 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a statement by National Coalition for Haitian Rights on child trafficking in Haiti:

August 23rd marks the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. We observe it on this date because two hundred and fifteen years ago slaves, in what is today Haiti, rose up and threw off the shackles of their enslavement. Thirteen years later in 1804, they triumphed, making Haiti the first nation in the world founded on the abolishment of slavery.

Shockingly, child slavery flourishes in Haiti today in the form of the restavek system. Just an hour and a half from Disney World, tens of thousands of children live as restavek, or child slaves

Child slavery in Haiti may be the ultimate symbol of a state that has failed its most vulnerable members. It lays bare the appalling lack of access to basic goods and services. It also brings into sharp focus the reality that most parents in Haiti lack the fundamental tools to demand that local and national government help them meet the needs of their children and provide them with a decent future.

Not all is bleak. In Haiti, a movement is growing of people coming together to champion the rights of the children in their community, especially those caught in the restavek system and those at risk for entering the system. Knowing that their children are Haiti's national treasure, teachers, pastors, mothers and fathers in communities like Fond des Blancs or La Gonave are engaged in doing everything possible to provide for them now and to save them from the terrible fate that has befallen so many other children in Haiti: condemned to toil as a domestic slave, a restavek.

With courageous determination, they are working to raise awareness that poverty is literally wasting the lives of their children. Without access to basic goods and services they lose too many of them to death and the restavek system. They want it to stop. They insist that their community be a place where all of their children can be safe ... drink clean water ... eat nutritious food ... go to school ... receive health services ... hope for a sustainable future. They believe that a mind is indeed a terrible thing to waste.

Democracy and development cannot advance alongside servitude. In keeping with the greatness of its victorious beginnings, it is time for Haiti to recommit to the abolishment of slavery. The National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR) calls on the government of Haiti to take all measures necessary now to assure that every child in Haiti gets the benefit of a primary school education and is exempt from domestic bondage.

For more information, contact Jocelyn McCalla, 212-337-0005 or jmccalla@nchr.org.

The National Coalition for Haitian Rights champions the rights of Haitians in Haiti and abroad in accordance with international human rights standards. Additional information on the restavek system can be found at http://www.nchr.org.

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