January 1, 2012
By Jesse Gurney BRONZE, Brattelboro, Vermont
Jesse Gurney BRONZE, Brattelboro, Vermont
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Many people think slavery has ended, but this thought is far from the truth. Even though slavery has ended in the US, it is still going on in other countries. Haiti is one of the many countries where slavery lives on, and the slaves that exist there are children called restaveks.
Restaveks are, in the non-literal terms, legal child slaves in Haiti. Restaveks are young children of ages of 5 to 15. Families who can’t afford to take care of their kids send them off to live with another family, hoping to give them a better future. These new families treat their new children worse than pets: In return for food and shelter, the average restavek is forced to wake up and go to sleep before and after the family, clean, cook, get beaten, and get sexually abused. They also obtain scraps off the dinner table, get locked out the house when the family leaves, and receive no education. Furthermore, by not getting an education, these children’s futures are taken away from them. To top it all of, this is legal in Haiti.

Currently, the UN has estimated that there are about 300,000 restaveks in Haiti. This means that one out of every three children living in Haiti is a restavek. In addition, the recent the Haitian earthquake has only increased these numbers.

Slavery still exists; it lurks in the shadows of legality and hides behind the shields of poverty. But we can take our swords and our will to knock away the shields and light up the shadows. Fortunately, there are many things we can do that will word off the demon of slavery. There are two major actions you can take to help these children who have everything taken away from them. First, you can support the organization Restavek Freedom Foundation, and second you can help spread awareness in your community.

Close your eyes and take a moment to imagine what it would feel like too know that you saved a helpless child from rape, broken bones, and emotional damage that scares them for life. To know that because of you, a child no longer enjoys being beaten by whips, because it hurts less than being beaten of blocks of wood.

The United States has triumphed over the Mount Everest of human rights: slavery, but other countries have not. Therefore, it is time for us to help others. It will be tough journey, but the results will give a countless number of children freedom. Children who have no idea where their families are. Children who are treated worse than pets. Children who have no future because they receive no education. Imagine lying on your deathbed and reminiscing your life, what do you think will make you satisfied: A big house? Lots of money? Or knowing that you made a difference in the world? You can make a difference. If you still wanna say no, I can’t help. Think for a moment, what if one of these restaveks was your child?

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