Child servants a blot on Haiti's abolitionist past
The International Labour Organisation estimates that one in 10 Haitian children is a restavek - across the country that amounts to around 300,000 individuals.
For Denois, four years of verbal and physical abuse finally ended when a concerned neighbour put her in touch with Haiti's social services, which referred her to the Action Centre for Development.
An hour's drive from Port-au-Prince, the refuge is home to nearly 100 former restaveks and street children. Mondesir, who founded the centre in 1994, says poverty fuels the system of slavery. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere; nearly 80 percent of Haitians live on less than $2 a day.
"When a mother has eight children, living with no electricity and little food, taking care of all her children and sending them all to school is very difficult," Mondesir said.
"The mother has no choice but to send some away. It's a very sad situation for many mothers. They tell me, 'I have no work and no money. I have too many mouths to feed'."
Middlemen, or "koutchye", as they are known in Creole, are sometimes paid to recruit restaveks for host families living in the affluent neighbourhoods of Port-au- Prince.
But restaveks are also found living in the slums, where the lack of water and electricity means demand for child labour is high. These families, though poor, tend to be better off than those living in rural areas, and use children
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