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Child Slavery in Haiti: "Restavék" Children

Child slaves (restavéks) and domestic servitude is still prominent in Haiti. Today, there are an estimated 150,000 to 300,000 restavék children in Haiti, according to Free the Slaves. Children as young as 5 years old.

Restavèk is a traditional system in which children from impoverished homes are sent to live with other families and work for them as indentured or domestic servants. Parents do this often out of desperation. It is a way to ensure their children will survive, eat, and have better chances at opportunity. This kind of indentured work is given in return for meals, education, and equal treatment in the host family. But more often than not, this is not the case.

Most restavék children spend up to 14 hours a day, with no pay, working in their ‘masters’ homes, fetching heavy buckets of water, hand-washing clothes, cooking, cleaning, working in the fields, and performing household chores. These children often slee