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Haiti Earthquake Heightens Concerns About Child Slavery

haiti earthquake
Matias Delacroix
/
AP
Children line up to receive food brought by a private citizen to the refugee camp in Les Cayes, Haiti, Monday, Aug. 23, 2021, a week after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the area.

The massive 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on Aug. 14 claimed more than 2,000 lives and escalated the humanitarian crisis already facing one of the hemisphere's most deeply troubled nations. For Restavek Freedom, a Haiti aid organization that has an office in Cincinnati, concerns immediately turned to the children they help. In Haiti, children who are taken in as servants and forced to work without pay are known as "restaveks."

Estimates on the number of restavek children in Haiti vary. A CDC study put the number at more than 300,000, or about 15% of the population in 2012. With the recent earthquake, members of Restavek Freedom fear the number could grow.

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss the work to end child slavery in Haiti are Restavek Freedom Executive Director Joan Conn; and Pwoteje Manager Cynthia Jean-Louis. Pwoteje is Restavek Freedom’s Creole social media campaign designed to initiate conversation amongst Haitians regarding child protection and the issue of Restavek.

Listen to Cincinnati Edition live at noon M-F. Audio for this segment will be uploaded after 4 p.m. ET.

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