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Children Treated Worse Than Criminals. Why?
1938 United States Fair Labor Standards Act was passed. This regulates employers to pay child labor the minimum wage. And limits the age of child labor to age 18 if the occupation is
hazardous. Despite efforts child labor still exist.
A restavec or restavek from the french reste avec "One who stay's with", refers to a social system in Haiti in which Parent's unable to care for their children send them to
relatives or strangers. Living in poverty and enslaved to their "hosts" and seldom
receiving an education. Why isn't this slavery? Child Slavery to be exact.
Poverty, Oppression and slavery have been connected with Haitian culture since Spain and France divided this region in 1697. In 1804 Haiti proclaimed itself the world's first black republic. This did not eliminate the system's oppression.
These restavec have the same kind of characteristic's. Few but there are boys in this position, though the majority of 70 percent are girls age 3 - 15, born into poverty and suffer from some type of Mental, physical or sexual abuse. These children are forced to often sleep on the floor usually under the table, on a piece of dirty cardboard or outside the family home.
Only 65 percent of the elementary school aged children are enrolled in Haiti's primary school's and of this number only 35 percent will graduate, and the number of students enrolled in the secondary level drops to 20 percent.
According to the Haitian government there are 90,000 to 120,000 children in bondage, but UNICEF estimates numbers ranging from 250,000 to 300,00.
When their owners have no further use for them, these children are often thrust out onto the streets after being severely beaten or sexually abused. Since these children did not receive the promised education from their "hosts", they have little opportunity to improve their
situation at the end of their servitude.
Since 2000 the Bush administration had stood in the way of over $500 million in much needed loans from international financial organizations to the Haitian government. But of course the new administration will bring more light to the issue.
According to a press release by the office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Gulnara Shahinian, the special reporteur on contemporary forms of slavery
voiced her deep concern. At the end of her June 2-10th visit to the impoverished nation,
saying the system of unpaid child labor deprives children of their family environment and violates their most basic right's, such as the right to education, health and food as well as
subjecting them to multiple forms of abuse and corporal punishment and violating their right to protection from all forms of violence.
Shahinian recommends that the government establish a National Commission on children paying special attention to the most vulnerable among them and protecting children's right's. Gulnara Shahinian is the first ever special reporteur in this field, appointed to her position by the Geneva based Human Rights Council in May 2008.
The International Labor Organization launched the First World Day Against Child Labor in 2002, this day is observed on June 12.
* "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
-- Nelson Mandela
* If we are ever to have real peace in this world we shall have to begin with the children.
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi
* "I love children. I work with UNICEF and one of the reasons I love that is because they deal specifically with children. For me I think it’s just really important to always embrace that side of you.
-- Lucy Liu
* "The saddest sight these days is the image of hundreds of thousands of children kidnapped and lured into being child soldiers from the age of eight. "
-- Sir Roger Moore
* It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today, but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today.
-- Barack Obama