Wednesday, July 09, 2008

How to buy a child in 10 hours

This is very disturbing, but nothing new to me. I'm glad they are exposing this.

ABC ran a special on child slavery in Haiti. Click here.

I've met restaveks in my 15 years of traveling in Haiti for the organization I work for. I met one just this year. She broke my heart.

She cried as she showed me her scars that she received from beatings.

I went back to my hotel room and cried, too.

Her mother gave her away to a "godparent," not realizing she was giving her away to a hellish nightmare. The mother couldn't afford to care for her, so she gave her away and then moved to Cap.

She sleeps on a rag rug on the floor and works doing chores all day, and sells lightbulbs on the street at night. If she doesn't bring home enough money, they beat her with an electrical cord.

Restaveks were the inspiration for me when I wrote The Cobra and the Concubine, telling the story of Badra, who was a child slave in Egypt. That story had a happy ending.

Unfortunately for many restaveks in Haiti today, there is no happy ending. I hope this program will bring more awareness and a push to finally end this disgusting trade in human life.


Mona Risk said...

It hurts to read about children abused in such a horrible way. These poor kids know there is no way out. Can't the US government do something to stop child abuse? I'm afraid to say slavery as it's so unacceptable in the 21 century when we call ourselves the greatest nation on earth.

Bonnie Vanak said...

It's horribly sad Mona. There are organizations who specifically address the issue and do their best to rescue restaveks.

Hard to believe in this day and age it takes place, but so do a lot of other atrocities, I'm afraid.