As I visit our grassroots anti-trafficking programs around the world this year, I want to share my field notes with you directly from the front lines. With each new visit, my optimism grows. The courageous activists that you support are spreading freedom in places where many had lost hope.
This week I’m in Haiti, where a complex combination of poverty, lack of schools, gender bias and attitudes about child rights leads parents to send children far from home to live with other families in exchange for household work. Often, these children become domestic slaves, enduring long hours of cleaning, caring for younger children, cooking and carrying out endless chores. About two-thirds of the estimated 250,000 children in this situation are girls. Abuse is common.
This week I am traveling with our partner in Haiti, Beyond Borders. We visited an extraordinary organization that uses the Free the Slaves approach to ending slavery. The Partnership for Local Development (PDL) works in Haiti’s mountainous Northeast Region. PDL helps rural farming communities increase food security, health care and natural resource management. PDL is now educating and mobilizing communities to protect children and become slavery resistant.
Child Protection Brigades have been organized to monitor the welfare and status of village children. Parents are encouraged and aided to retrieve their children from domestic servitude. The flow of children out of communities is declining.
Our collaboration with Beyond Borders and PDL is a great example of the Free the Slaves approach – partnering with organizations that reach people at risk and helping them acquire the skills needed to fight slavery.
Thank you for your ongoing support to make this work possible. Together, we will build a world where every child lives free.
Learn more about our Haiti program here.