We are still in shock about Haiti. On July 7, we awoke to news that President Jovenel Moïse had been assassinated overnight. Major cities went into lockdown and a power vacuum has now worsened the political crisis with no clear path out. The parliament is dysfunctional with no lower chamber and the senate lacks two-thirds of its members. The president of the Supreme Court died recently of COVID-19.
We’d like to let the many supporters of Free the Slaves’ work in Haiti know that our staff and our field partners are safe. We are limiting travel and monitor the security situation daily. As well, the communities in the countryside where we work are calm.
However, the assassination worsens the socio-economic situation confronting Haiti’s most vulnerable families, and we are deeply concerned that this could lead to an increase in child domestic servitude. Thousands of Haiti’s children have been sent far from home by impoverished parents hoping the girls and boys can lead better lives in return for domestic work inside the homes of wealthier families. Too often they become domestic child slaves – trapped and horribly mistreated.
High inflation and widespread gang activity are already destabilizing the entire country. With the political crisis unsolved, destitute rural families cannot expect to have their basic social and economic needs fulfilled. The risk of them sending children away to the city is very high, despite the danger.
Our field programs will continue to support rural communities with prevention projects that uplift families and keep children at home with their parents.
We thank you for your ongoing concern for our team and the children of Haiti.