Haitian flag Restavecs in Haiti Haitian flag



About Haiti

Overall Effects of Slavery







Limyè Lavi (Light of Life Foundation)

Limyè Lavi (Light of Life Foundation) is a Haitian organization dedicated to ending the restavec (child domestic slavery) system. Their goals are to break the silence, raise awareness, and to find schools systems that work for all Haitian children. They also also are looking forward towards building a national response by running training sessions for Creole speaking leaders and teach them how to take action to protect children. They will do this by arranging dialogues.

A few rescued restavecs


The Jean R. Cadet Restavec Foundation

Jean-Robert Cadet was a former restavec. He escaped by getting an education in Haiti and the United States. His goal is to raise global awareness on the issue of restavecs. He travels to colleges, universities, and organizations across the world. Cadet wrote a book entitled, Restavec: From Haitian Slave Child to Middle Class American, which shares Cadet's experiences of life as a restavec and how he managed to escape. The Jean R. Cadet Restavec Foundation's goal is to restore hope within the restavec children. The foundation also strives to help fight for relief.

The cover of Jean Robert Cadet's book entitiled, Restavec: From Haitian's Slave Child to Middle Class American

A Letter from Jean Robert Cadet Reflecting on the Jean Robert Cadet Restavec Foundation's Progress

Dear Friends,
"November 18 was the National Day of the Child in Haiti, a day that didn’t exist when I was a child
in Servitude. I was never permitted to attend church and have my First Communion in my homeland, but I
did on November 18, along with thousands of restavec children in t-shirts that said: “A Haiti without
restavec is possible.” When a restavec girl led the children in the Hymn of Childhood, singing, “It’s beauti-
ful when all children can grow in peace, find joy, go to school, play, sing, dance and laugh,” tears filled my
eyes. Their sweet voices, full of hope, filled the church. At the end of the mass, I along with Foundasyon
Limya Lavi and other grassroots organizations working against the restavec system, walked the children,
200 strong, on a march to the National Palace, demanding an end to child slavery.
With your help, the Jean R. Cadet Restavec Foundation has been able to make strides in the fight
against modern day slavery in Haiti. We diligently work alongside Haitians to promote the freedom of
restavec children caught in the insidious and persistent system of domestic servitude. Together, we hope
to ensure a brighter future for our Haitian neighbors and friends. Before we gear up for another new and
exciting year, we reflect upon the work and developments of 2007. We want to recognize the progress
that you and other supporters have made possible this past year. Your initiative and help has been invalu-
able, affording the Jean R. Cadet Restavec Foundation the needed momentum to start a thriving and
flourishing organization. We delight to share in the successes of 2007 and look forward to embarking into
2008 with you."


UNICEF has implemented child laws but, laws are not enforced. UNICEF has created a legislative reform on child domestic labor.


United Nations

In the 1970s, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, was adopted in 1989 its goal was to protect the rights of children. It is a treaty for children across the world. It includes civil rights and freedoms, family environment, basic health and welfare, education, leisure and cultural activities and special protection for children.


U.N. Millennium Development Declaration

Haiti signed the U.N. Millennium Development Goals Declaration on September 8, 2000. This declaration supposed to reduce the spread of HIV, poverty, environmental issues by 2015. This will help decrease the amount of restavecs because there will be no need to go to the city. However, like the United States and the rest of the world, Haiti has been too busy with other problems such as economy and health to focus on the U.N. Millennium.

Millennium Promise


Haiti's Government

The government has sponsored work by the UN Refugee Agency to provide awareness on television and radio. The Ministry of Education is receiving funding from the World Bank to build schools which would decrease the amount of restavecs. There was a law put into place June 5, 2003. It focuses on family solidarity. The law was supposed to ensure that there were no restavecs in Haiti. However, parents still bring their children to the city to be dehumanized by their host families. Many laws are put into place. Not many laws are enforced and practiced by the people.


Amnesty International

Amnesty International has created a postcard that says, "Haiti: Don't Turn Your Back on Girls: Stop Sexual Violence Against Haitian Girls." It was published January 30, 2009. An organization called Beyond Borders raises awareness in the rural areas and creates opportunities for restavecs to return home.

The front of Amnesty International's postcard, "Haiti: Don't Turn Your Back on Girls: Stop Sexual Violence Against Hatian Girls


Foyers Maurice Sixto (Maurice Sixto Shelters)

Foyers Maurice Sixto (Maurice Sixto Shelters) opened shelters in 1989 and 1993 that gave provided resources such as food, education, and attention for restavec children.


Haitian Street Kids Inc.

An organization called Haitian Street Kids Inc. is very similar. It provides a safe space and education. There are ways for restavec children to get help. Due to lack of technology and exclusion from society, many restavec children do not get the opportunities to take advantage of such resources because they are unaware.

Haiti Street Kids Inc. participants

Who is at fault? What should be done next?

It is hard to put the blame on a specific individual or factor with Haiti's complicated history of political and economic instability. The restavec system was created and accepted as result of the necessity for survival and uplift. It is similar to the "American Dream." Immigrants come to America because they believe it is the "land opportunity." Many immigrants come and find there are many obstacles to living that American Dream and achieving upward mobility.

The acceptance of the restave system is the result of a combination of economic instability and ideologies that have been ingrained into the Haitian culture. The agents are not the ones to blame, because parents give them their consent. The parents are not the ones to blame, due to the fact that most times, they cannot afford to feed their children. They cannot ask their neighbors for help because their neighbors are in the same circumstance. There are many organizations doing their best to help restavecs return home. They help by finding ways to provide an education for restavecs, so that there is no need to leave their homes.

Is it really worth it at the end of the day? Are there any jobs available in Haiti for educated people? How far will an education get a child in Haiti? Is this an issue of class? Who has the money in Haiti? Why isn't the government enforcing laws, in order to protect its citizens' human rights? Why is it that Haiti was the first country to abolish slavery, but has continued to have child restavec system? This website was created to bring about awareness to this pressing issues and to show how actions from people on top, effect the people on the bottom.



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