Joining Forces with Free the Slaves

Beyond Borders and Free the Slaves launch new alliance to end child slavery in Haiti.

Beyond Borders and Free the Slaves are proud to announce a new programmatic alliance designed to strengthen the effort to protect Haitian children from enslavement as domestic servants. The two organizations are combining their Haiti field operations into a joint program called United to End Child Slavery.

Each year, thousands of impoverished rural Haitian parents send their children to live with families in distant cities, in the hope that the young girls and boys will be afforded an opportunity to attend school in return for helping with household chores.

In reality, many children end up in homes where they are subjected to exploitation, abuse, neglect and denial of basic rights like going to school. They are not paid for their labor, and they cannot escape.

Beyond Borders and Free the Slaves have been working for years to end this system of child domestic servitude, known as restavèk. By joining forces, the groups will increase their impact.

The goals of the United to End Child Slavery alliance are to:

  • Accelerate progress toward ending child domestic servitude in Haiti.
  • Demonstrate and disseminate strategies and tools that are effective in reducing the prevalence of child domestic servitude in Haiti.
  • Secure widespread adoption of evidence-based strategies and tools for reducing child domestic servitude in Haiti.
  • Catalyze alignment as to goals, strategies and tools among key actors in Haiti engaged in the effort to reduce child domestic servitude.
  • Secure sustained financial and programmatic growth so as to maximize impact.Optimize the efficient use of available resources.
  • Learn from the effort to develop an effective, long-term collaboration between the organizations.
  • Develop skills and infrastructure that the organizations may apply to other forms of child slavery and human trafficking.

Work is already underway to combine the Beyond Borders and Free the Slaves programs in Haiti. Formal field operations under the new alliance begin January 1, 2016. Beyond Borders and Free the Slaves will remain independent nonprofit organizations.

Perspectives on United to End Child Slavery

Beyond Borders Executive Director David Diggs: “We encourage collaboration among our partners in the field in Haiti. This alliance is our effort to practice what we preach in a strategically deliberate way. This alliance allows our organizations to harness our complementary strengths and serve as better allies to the movement to end child servitude in Haiti.”

Beyond Borders-Free the Slaves 'United to End Child Slavery' signing ceremony.

Beyond Borders-Free the Slaves ‘United to End Child Slavery’ signing ceremony.

Free the Slaves Executive Director Maurice Middleberg: “Liberating Haitian children now suffering in servitude demands new and creative efforts. Beyond Borders and Free the Slaves share goals, values and a commitment to finding new approaches to ending child servitude. By pooling our resources, talent and expertise, this powerful new alliance will greatly enhance our collective impact to the benefit of Haiti’s children.”

Beyond Borders Haiti Co-director Jean Prosper Elie: “The alliance will create a stronger presence in Haiti for Beyond Borders and Free the Slaves, amid the mix of many different organizations. It will also create stronger programming thanks to the sharing of information, critiques and lessons learned among the staff of two organizations. This will lead to improvements in project conception, planning and evaluation.”

Free the Slaves Haiti Director Smith Maximé: ”We have long way to go on the journey leading to the eradication of child domestic servitude in Haiti. As a traveler making the journey, Free the Slaves cannot go alone. We need to converge our effort to build collective action to achieve greater impact. That is why the alliance is so important.”


About Beyond Borders
Beyond Borders helps people build movements to liberate themselves from oppression and isolation. In Haiti and the United States, we are bringing people together for just and lasting change. We support movements in Haiti to end child slavery, guarantee universal access to education, end violence against women and girls, and replace systems that oppress the poor with systems that support dignified work and sustainable livelihoods. We work hand-in-hand with the Haitian people, understanding that they know how to best address the issues they face. We provide them with the resources they need to build grassroots, community-based movements that lead to sustainable, positive change.

About Free the Slaves
Free the Slaves liberates slaves, helps them rebuild their lives, and transforms the social, economic and political conditions that allow slavery to persist. We support community-driven interventions in partnership with local groups that help people to sustainable freedom and dismantle a region’s system of slavery. We convince governments, international development organizations and businesses to implement key changes required for global eradication. We document and disseminate leading-edge practices to help the anti-slavery movement work more effectively. We raise awareness and promote action by opinion leaders, decision makers and the public. Free the Slaves is showing the world that ending slavery is possible.