The restavek issue is rooted in systemic problems and is very complicated - spurred by harsh economic conditions, condoned by culture, and tolerated by government. Its causes and consequences are myriad, touching every aspect of Haitian society. But no matter how complex the problem may be, we must never lose sight of what it's really about.
It's about Ti Marie, the 9-year-old who knows that if she doesn't wash the families clothes fast enough, she will be beaten with a stick.
It's about Fedna, the 12-year-old who wakes up at 4 o'clock each morning to fetch water and cook breakfast, then watches the others eat, praying that today will be one of the good days, one of the days when she gets to eat what's left.
It's about Anita, age 9, who carries the books of the children she walks to school, but then stands outside the gate, peering into a world she cannot enter.
Restavek is about these children and hundreds of thousands more, the ones who endure in fear and hunger and pain day after day. So even as we work on influencing policy, economics and cultural norms, working toward a restavek-free tomorrow, our child advocates remain committed to building a better life for children living in restavek..