The US alongside Haiti in the fight against human trafficking

This week, accredited US Ambassador to Haiti Michèle Sison joined Karen d’Aboville, Deputy Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), former State Program and Partner Program Fellows, for the launch of the National Plan of Action against Human Trafficking and the signing of the “LUMOS Best” project of USAID which aims at supporting the efforts of the Haitian Government and the civil society in the fight against the trafficking of the people by putting a particular accent on domesticity, cross-border trafficking and child trafficking in an institutional setting.
This new project that will be implemented will be implemented nationwide from 2019 to 2023 will build upon previous anti-trafficking successes by the Government of Haiti with support from the U.S. government. In the last seven years, the government of Haiti has closed several abusive orphanages and worked to reconstruct its foster care system to support child trafficking victims and reduce vulnerability to abuse. The government also increased the number of trained police; deployed its first class of border police trained to detect and combat trafficking; and increased coordination and oversight of its anti-trafficking efforts.
The efforts cited are important signals, since in Haiti,, at least 30,000 children live in institutions, most of them in abusive orphanages where they are often subject to trafficking. Another form of trafficking in Haiti can be found within the widespread practice of placing children with other families to perform domestic worker, known as restavèks. In exchange for performing domestic tasks, children of families too poor to care for them should receive some sort of care and education from the receiving family. However, this practice is often characterized by children that are physically abused while in domestic servitude, unpaid for their work and prevented from attending school. In 2016, UNICEF published a report on children in domesticity, which estimated that 400,000 children are involved in domestic work; of those, 207,000 under age 15 are in unacceptable conditions.