- Posted June 19, 2012 by
santo domingo, Dominican Republic
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Take a stand to end slavery
Restavec Child Slaves of Haiti
A restavek (; from the French language French reste avec, "one who stays with") is a child in who is sent by their parents to work for a host household as a domestic servant because the parents lack the resources required to support the child. Restavek may refer to a child staying with a host family, but usually refers specifically to those who are abused. (cit. wikipedia)
Just a short one or two hour flight from Miami sits the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti. Haiti is about one third of the island of Hispaniola which also has one of the richest countries in the Caribbean, The Dominican Republic. Earlier this year we took an all inclusive vaction there while my daughter performed a number of concerts.
I tend to get bored pretty quickly at these "all you can do on the property" places so it wasn't long before I decided to venture off on my own. Despite the hotel population of over 10,000 very few people ever take the opportunity to go it alone in this vacation paradise. The security guards looked at me like I was crazy, after all what was there to see? No pools, no buffets, no bikini's, no paved roads. Just the disparate poverty that starts right at the hotel property wall and continues it's path of misery all the way to the restavecs of Haiti.
With poverty at these extreme levels it should come as no surprise that the the relatively wealthy country of the Dominican Republic is home to thousands of abused children or "restavecs" as they are known here. They're easy targets because their native language is Creole or French, not the Spanish of the Dominican Republic. As a result they are easily exploited for fear of being punished and outted with the consequences of even less opportunity in their home country.
It's likely that many viewers of this story have been or will go to the Dominican Republic. If so maybe you too will take time out of your suntan schedule to meet the children of the fields and tip them instead of the hotel that day.
For more information on these abused children simply google: "Restavecs"
Produced and edited by: Percy von Lipinski
Original Score by: Percy von Lipinski