Are there Restavek Slaves in Haiti

The answer is yes, when I read the definition of Slave in the Dictionary.

This small beautiful, wonderful, and incurably happy girl is a Slave.

“parental placement of a Restavek child involves turning over child-rearing responsibility to another household in exchange for the child’s unpaid domestic service.”
CNN - Study: Thousands of Haitian Children work as slaves

Port-au-Prince, Haiti --- Thursday, December 31, 2009
By Andy Graham of
Travel Gear

This girl is forced to work from 6:00 am, until about 9:00 pm daily. When a person walks up to the house, she run to help, she sells bags of drinking water, crackers, and penny candy to help feed the family. She is taught to lie to me, to try to cheat me by her boss, I am rich, she is poor, it is fair to lie to rich people, it is the way things are done in Haiti.

She lives on Rue Lamarre, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

This old man, torn, worn, neglected is forced to carry loads of trash. He is ignored, has back problems, he shuffles his feet as he walk, unable to walk normally, he is a slave.

He lives on Rue Lamarre, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The boy on the left, started to beg from as I entered the central park here in Port-au-Prince. He proceeded to follow me for about one mile, meek, weak, and tragic. I finally stopped to take a photo of him, the gentleman on the right jumped into the photo; he also wanted his photo taken.

I proceeded to walk towards the large modern super-market; I stopped in front of a row of adults sitting on the sidewalk and asked,
“Will you stop him from following me?”
I was lucky; they somehow convinced him to stop following me.

I believe he is forced by his family to beg, maybe his mother sends him out daily, do not come home until you have one dollar. He saw me, this white person in the park, he knows his job, and he has done this many times. He meekly, passively follows a person, until out of confusion, and frustration, the white person gives him money to stop. This boy is a slave.

I gave him zero, nothing, I know the consequences, I refuse to enable this boy to benefit by begging, I want him to work, and I do not want another slave on planet Earth.

This is the Haiti Restavek Slave Deal
I will give you shelter, food, assistance in doing your job, however you must obey me, you will be forced to work as I wish, or you will be thrown into the streets. Work or suffer the ultimate punishment, no home, no family, nobody who wants me. They leave a family that does not want them, and enters a family that does. Yes, this is forced labor, but every one of these children can escape, if there was an alternative.

I Have a Dream
It is powerful, angry dream, I am tormented, frustrated by this dream. I dream of being able to write the perfect sentence, the perfect explanation of what I see, this sentence would stop people, from destroying countries like Haiti by donations to scams internet pages. I think of the Sanskrit word, “Ahimsa”, meaning “noninjury”, or a dictum, a protocol, a way of living our life, it is a rule I try to live by, I do my best, I do not succeed, I will be judged by my intentions.

Ahimsa: First, we do no harm.

When we walk into chaos, when we enter a world we do not understand, when we feel emotionally overwhelmed, when we you come to Haiti, please remember Ahimsa: first, we do no harm.

Do you remember “Roadie,” the baby I met in the Orphanage with the deformed legs; I feel she is my poster child, the one defenseless person that needs assistance.

This is me with Roadie, this little girl tugged at my heart, she tears me up, and she has deformed legs, does this truly sickening movement to watch. Because her legs do not work, because God made her not right, she drags her butt around on the floor, pulling her body with here arms, draggling here little weak legs.

“It just ain’t right.”

I have tortured myself with this word, trying to understand Restaveks in Haiti. Then I need to apply my personal rule of Ahimsa, the rule that says, first I must do no harm. I went about, asked all my Haitian friends, do you know the word “Restaveks.” This is taxing in itself, like asking a dog, do you understand the word meat. The dog wants to know, why do you ask, why do you want to know, maybe I know the word meat. Just try to talk about meat to a dog, the dog knows that maybe you have a piece of meat.

Words that Mean Money
In a country like Haiti, when you use words like:

1. Hunger
2. Food
3. Safety
4. Restaveks
5. Slaves
6. Corruption

When the see me, my Blue Eyes, Blond Hair, what do they see: MONEY.

Haitian people are street smart, Americans and Europeans are complete idiots when compared to Haitians, if we are talking Street Smarts. Therefore, when you say the words above, the Haitian people smell meat, they will say about anything to get the meat. They know white people have money, they just have to use the correct words and money will come out of our pockets. The little boy in the park was painfully aware of this, he was persistent. I am hard pressed, I would like to call it a tie, but I think this boy beat the little boy in Ethiopia, he now holds the world record for persistence in beggar in my 11-12 years of perpetual travel and 87 countries.

1. Haiti boy - Port-au-Prince
2. Ethiopia boy - Dila, Ethiopia
3. India - Magao, India

I hope you are confused, you should be, there is no way to just say, Restaveks are good or bad, the label mean crap.

Let us try to explain simply, mothers and fathers who are poor give their children to richer families. This family takes care of the children, and the children must work. The problem here, 99 percent of the children real children of Haitian people are required to work, they force Haitian children to work, etc.

I was forced to sell newspapers by my father; Warren Buffet was forced to work his father’s grocery store.

The Restaveks System Saves Lives
The orphanage of Jasmine and Greg Martinson, I report on when I first came to Haiti was full of Restavek children, the children were not orphans, 95 percent had parents. The parents could not afford to give them a good life; the parents turned children over to Jasmine and Greg. In addition, as best I can see, the children are required to work to assist the large group of children. As well, they eat together, say prayers together and talk together; it is a big foster family house. I think there was maybe 3 or 5 orphans, the rest were Restaveks.

I am 100 percent in favor of the Restavek system, it exists all over Africa and when I hear the word orphanage in Africa, I get angry, I know there are no orphans. The people of Africa want the extra children to help work and support the family.

There is a huge need for orphanages for deformed children, almost zero need for healthy ones.

This is my friend in Panajachel, Guatemala, he is a Restavek child. He father gave him to Don Carlos who owns the Posada Don Carlos Hotel. He sells chocolate bananas in the street, goes to school, and I believe works more than Don’s real children do.

I met the boy’s father; this is 10 times better life than the alternative. This boy is grateful to have a chance to live in a better family, his life is better, I am positive, I know Don Carlos, and he is my friend.

To destroy the Rastevek system would send thousands of children into the streets, instead of working for their foster parents, they would need to return to incredibly poor families. If organizations want to attack sexual abuse by fathers, if they want to stop children being whipped by extension cords, they do not need to leave the USA; there is more than enough of that in the USA or Europe.

To me, articles about Rastevek, violate the rules of Ahimsa, first we do no harm. I am all in favor of children staying with their families; I think the nuclear family is great. I have to hide, I have to keep quiet, my mother and father have been married for over 50-55 years, I know the value of a good family, God gave me the good family, and this makes children from broken families angry.

There are worst things in life than having a rich family taking in a poor child and making him or her work. Trust me, you do not want to know where these children came from, I have witnessed extreme poverty, I applaud the Restavek system.

To destroy the Restavek system would cause greater harm, then the problems with the system. All the social injustices associated with Restaveks, also exist in the normal family, to say the Restavek systems is bad, it to say all of Haiti is bad, and I know, this is a rather nice country, compared to the rest.

To give a boy begging in the street money dooms the boy to a life with no pride, you purchased his soul; you enslaved him to a life of begging, for only 20 cents in spare change.

1. somebody forced to work for another: somebody who is forced to work for somebody else for no payment and is regarded as the property of that person
2. dominated person: somebody who is dominated by somebody or by something
3. somebody accepting another's rule: somebody who meekly accepts being ruled by somebody else
4. very hard worker: somebody who works hard, in bad conditions, and for low pay

Are there Restavek Slaves in Haiti


By clicking on the "Subscribe to Comments" you will receive an email when members post new comments on this page

Hey Andy

Think you are pretty much dead on, just kinda custom there, not such a bad thing as the NGOs try to portray for obvious reasons. Think they need to just focus on the bad charactors.

lot of info here
(does not appear to be in wikipedia now)

Hope you have an even happier new year!


Great article! Although some organizations make it sound a lot worse, it's pretty awful. Check out our organization: Thanks!

My Account