There are few places on earth where it’s harder to stand up for human rights than Haiti. On this year’s Human Rights Day, we’d like to share an update about our courageous front-line activists there, who continue to fight child slavery even in times of national crisis.
Anti-government protests — some violent — have been growing worse. They’ve limited the provision of medical care, exacerbated food and fuel shortages, and reduced access to drinking water. More than two million children have been unable to attend school. Demonstrators are protesting against corruption and inflation. One analyst notes they not only want a new president, they want to “change the system of governance and the economic system that has gone along with it.”
Part of that system is the widespread exploitation of children as household slaves. Thousands are sent every year by impoverished rural families to work as domestic servants in the city. Parents hope their children will be well fed and educated, but many are brutally abused instead.
That’s why staffers in our United to End Child Slavery program with Beyond Borders in Haiti continue their work despite the current danger and hardship, braving civic unrest on the streets and sleeping in their offices at night.
Here’s why they do it:
“I’ve always been driven by a desire to rebel against injustice: children who are trapped in child slavery, women who are victims of violence at the hands of men and are denied their human rights.” — Freda Catheus
“As a survivor of child slavery I am compelled to do all that I can to fight against this practice so that no child ever suffers what I did.” — Christnel Brivard
“What gives me great satisfaction in my work is knowing the number of children freed from slavery and protected from abuse and neglect.” — Sonel Joseph
Your support makes their work possible. We hope you will value their determination by making, renewing or increasing your contribution to Free the Slaves during our Universal Values 2019 End-of-Year Campaign.
“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” — American writer Audre Lorde
Editors note: our thanks to the Haiti team for their testimonials and perserverence, and to Laurel Rush, who wrote their story for the FTS Blog.