Monthly e-Magazine, February 2015

Do you know what a Restavek is?


Edeline, 14, who became a restavek after her parents died in 2004, washes clothes for the host family of 13 people while one of her "masters," Jules, sits nearby with two of the children.

Restavek. It's a word that you've likely never heard. But everyone in Haiti knows what it means.

Although derived from two French words (reste avec), that mean "to stay with," the more literal translation of restavek is "child slave." Haiti's restaveks are children who are sent by their deeply-impoverished rural parents to work as live-in domestic servants in the homes of city families who are somewhat better off. There are as many as 300,000 restaveks in Haiti, a reflection of the desperation of hundreds of thousands of parents who can't escape the world's poorest nation.