Our mission is simple: We plan to end child slavery in Haiti in our lifetimes.
Every action we take — whether it be caring for restavek children, conversing with families about the harsh realities of the practice, or spurring community leaders to effect permanent change — is done with this goal in mind.
We work to ensure every child is FREE.
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Where We Work: Haiti
Our Child Advocates work with children in restavek or at risk of being in restavek, make sure their host family is treating them well, and visit their school to ensure the children are thriving. We fund their education, and Child Advocates meet with the children regularly to remind them that they are loved and valued. Focused in Port-au-Prince, we are expanding our program into the southern region of Haiti in our efforts to end child slavery.
In the worst instances of abuse, we remove girls from their situation and care for them in one of our two Transitional Homes. Twelve of them, as Restavek Freedom Writers, wrote two books to speak up for those still trapped in restavek or victims of human trafficking. We can house 24 children, providing shelter, education, and trauma-competent caregivers to help them heal in a loving, family atmosphere.
The Brigade for the Protection of Minors (BPM) – Haiti’s child protection police – requested we help them transform how they do business by building a Child Protection database and training them on anti-trafficking cases. By building capacity of governmental justice systems, we can increase the strength of the rule of law to protect children and apprehend perpetrators.
“Thank you, thank you because you have changed my life and given me hope. I am alive today because you found me.”
-Myou*, in our Child Advocacy Program
We engage host families and those involved in perpetrating the restavek system by training church and community leaders to go back and train their communities to end child slavery. Our 6-week course weaves together the biblical mandate for love and justice with Haitian law and case studies of children who have been abused or are victims of human trafficking, impacting communities in all 10 departments of Haiti.
Regional Activity Hubs
In order to effectively reach the entire country in a personal, relational way, hubs of activity and education are being established in every region of Haiti to successfully end child slavery. Our Learning Centers and regional trainings also establish collaboration with other service providers throughout Haiti, helping to stem the supply of children in restavek by strengthening families. We focus on informing families of the reality of restavek, providing families with economic opportunities, and giving children educational opportunities near their home.
“I have made a lot of money… those that wanted a restavek always give some money to me. But after what I have heard in this training, I am asking for the forgiveness of the community. I want them to be aware of my decision to stop this shameful activity.”
–Justice Curriculum Training Participant
Recognizing the power of delivering education through entertainment, Restavek Freedom initiated an immensely popular radio serial drama – Zoukoutap – using the Sabido methodology for social change. 2 million Haitians are tuning in to listen each week, transforming attitudes on restavek, violence, child slavery, family planning, and child protection.
Songs for Freedom
Restavek Freedom hosts the national Songs for Freedom music competition where contestants write and perform original songs about freedom, protecting children, and ending modern day slavery and human trafficking. This competition culminates in a national finale with the ten regional finalists. National Public Radio heralded this competition as “Haiti Idol.” Excitement is growing as we host regional contest through 2016 with the Grand Finale on July 23, 2017.