Friday, October 31, 2008

DR and Haiti

I visited Haiti and the Dominican Republic for one week. Two beautiful countries that have minority groups that are still searching for Freedom.

In my visit to Dejabon, a city in the Dominican Republic that borders Haiti, I immediately faced the realities of forced labor within these two countries.

One woman pointed out three teenagers, and said that she'd rescued them from Haiti. She claimed that without her help their lives "would be nothing." But the reality is that she herself is now holding these young women in bondage, because without their labor she cannot afford to send her son to school. The young women work all day selling products for the older women in the streets, and in the afternoon they work in her home. They have never been to school or been paid, and their owner still believes that she is doing them a favor. 

In Haiti, exchanging children as Restavek, or slaves, is not uncommon. The people that buy them will even use religious language to justify their actions. This messianic perception of the slaveholders is a big challenge for the modern day abolitionist in Haiti and the DR.

Kique Bazan

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