July 13th, 2009
05:09 PM ET

A capacity for cruelty is never justified

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

Read my blog on the AC 360 site about the child slavery trade in Haiti.

Filed under: Children's Health

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soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Israel C.

    Dr S. Gupta I totally disagree the way you do the report about children in Haiti.You talk about slavery to me it is not slavery, have you ever take a minute to think about life in Haiti how hard life is.I was born in Haiti let me explain to you, Haiti fought slavery long time ago we had kicked french out.Whats we call RESTAVEK in Haiti is not slavery is a favor. Before you jump into conclusion you have to understand the Haitian society its socio-economic and political aspect.

    July 14, 2009 at 15:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Laura C.

    Dr. Gupta,
    Your story about Haiti was very thought provoking. Yes, it is a very sad situation. I have traveled to Haiti on several occasions as part of a medical mission team and also to teach ESL to young adults. Though I have witnessed the sorrowful situations you presented I have also witnessed and engaged with parents and families of young children who are supportive of having their children receive an education so they may have a better life and they are doing their best to provide this. Haiti is a land of contrast. It is not just a country of slums. It is not just "Haiti the poorest country in the western hemisphere" as seems to be the full name as presented in the media. There is much good in Haiti and there is also much beauty.
    I would hope and encourage you to present an additional story that would reveal this in order to provide an more balanced picture.
    Thank you.

    July 15, 2009 at 13:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Josephine

    Dr. Gupta

    The situation concerning the Restavek is sad. However, everybody don't mistreat their Restavek. the word meaning is, YOU ARE STAYING WITH ME, hopefully until your parents come for you or things get better for them, that's unlikely.
    I remember when I was in Haiti, that was back in the 70's my family had a help, well a maid (Bonne). Her sister didn't have a place to stay, they were orphans. My Father took both in, the help got paid and her sister did not. However, my Dad made sure they both went to night school, (L'ecole du soire) back then the government provided school for the restaveks who worked during the day.
    In life you will have the good and the bad. It's a good thing to help those that are in need, especially when they don't have a home. However, some people are down right evil, they are taking advantage of them, just because they do not have anywhere to go.
    Last year 2008, I went back to Haiti after thrity three years. My family and me we traveled for our Grand – mothers funeral. My mother leave there now. She retired from the states after thirty five years in America. I am saying all of this to let you know for someone like my mother who spent so many years in New York City; I witness my Mother who has a big house with lots of room, she wouldn't allow her restavek who happen to be our distant relatives to sleep in the bedroom or even shower in the guest bathroom they have to shower outside or use the maid bathroom. She does not mistreat them, however, they are being treated not as well as her own children.
    My sister and I couldn't believe our mother was acting like someone who never lived in New York City.
    People in Haiti have a mind set that needs to be renewed when it comes to treating their Restavkes and their helps better.
    In Haiti it's about a class system more then the color thing. It is about your last name and how big your gate / fences are meaning you have a big house; that means you have money, and even if they are struggling. People think you have arrived, then you can call the shots.

    Corruption in the government need to stop. The Country need Electricity, running clean water, food, good public schools for those that can't afford it, jobs adn hopefully tourism again. Furthermore, it needs cleaning up, the gov't should invest in those man that are not working to clean up especially the Capital ( Port -Au-Prince).

    July 20, 2009 at 01:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Rosalynn Gatewood

    I wanted to ask about the young girl who worked as a slave laborer. Can she be adopted? I would like some more information about her. Can I write her? Please let me know.

    August 3, 2009 at 15:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Antonio Evora

    A capacity to expose and deny assistance to person in danger is never justified!

    August 7, 2009 at 14:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Antonio Evora

    I hope that this investigation will lay the groundwork for an effective, national, regional and international means to combat the Child Slavery ( restavecs in Haiti) phenomenon and to put an end to this cruel form of human slavery." 1/4 millionthis a huge human right violation. The United Nations ILO International Program on the Eliminationof Child Labor ( IPEC) should do something ASAP. A resolution has to be voted.

    August 7, 2009 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Antonio Evora

    We can let that happen under our watch 1 hour and an half plane ride from Miami USA.

    August 7, 2009 at 15:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Antonio Evora

    “It is kindness…selflessness…courage… but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child that finally decides our fate” Barrack Obama 1st Inaugural Speech. January 20 , 2009

    Maternal mortality is 670/100,000 in Haiti
    When women die in Haiti , this dream is stolen from them. 138,000 kids die in Haiti before reaching their 5th birthday. 300,000 kids aged 6 -15 are used as child live-in domestic worker ( de fato slave) Give them back their mother by preventing their mother from dying and provide the poor women with micro laons , family planning and their live will be different.

    August 7, 2009 at 15:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Antonio Evora

    Each mother who dies leaves behind a devastated family and weakened community that will eventually, somehow, affect each of us.

    August 8, 2009 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Gerard F. Dure

    I am the Executive-Secretary of a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Georgia, and has written extensively to outlaw this caste-based discrimination of our Haitian youths.

    Although your report focuses mainly on poverty and "slavery", I believe that the social stratification and social restrictions imposed on these indentured slave children in Haiti will only mean the bereavement of Haiti and Haitian society.

    I reasoned that if this persistent problem is not exposed and tackled, Haiti, in the coming years, will be laid bare, stripped of its intellectual base, and forced to survive with a mentality of oppression and suppression of the mind, body and soul.

    We need to put an end to the prejudice and discrimination system of indentured slavery in Haiti, for the good of the country.

    Thank you for having the courage to expose this scourge!

    August 13, 2009 at 18:17 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.