Urban Strategies

Child Rights Advocates

Ending the practice of using children as household slaves begins by changing the way people ordinarily think about it.

We’re working with community based organizations, grassroots leaders, Haitian government officials and adults who formerly worked as household slaves to make the practice of enslaving children unacceptable.

In urban areas of Port-au-Prince we are working to:

  1. Raise Awareness

    • We helped launch November 17 as the National Day to End the Restavèk Practice, which receives increased attention each year.
    • We developed radio programming to highlight the risks facing children sent to live with others and the obligation all adults have to protect children from harm.
    • We create a safe space for adults to talk about child slavery using a curriculum called Education is a Conversation (ESK).  Neighbors spend 22 weeks gathering together to share stories and have in-depth dialogues about corporal punishment, sexual abuse and child slavery, among other topics. In this interactive and transformative exploration, participants learn to educate, raise awareness, create public accountability and change the way people think about the rights of children.  Upon completion participants become Child Rights Activists in their neighborhoods.  Since 2010, we’ve trained more than 3,000 Child Rights Activists in urban neighborhoods throughout Port-au-Prince.
  2. Build Networks

    • After neighbors complete the ESK training, these new Child Rights Activists come together to create volunteer, neighborhood Child Protection Committees that are the first-line of defense for vulnerable children in their neighborhoods. Since 2010, together with our partners we’ve launched 43 Child Protection Committees in rural and urban neighborhoods across Haiti and we’ll launch 53 more by the end of 2013. As each Committee is formed, the nationwide movement to end child slavery grows.
    • We’re nurturing an Adult Survivor Network to be a leading voice against child slavery. Convening adult survivors in peer dialogue groups, our goal is to help them overcome the stigma associated with those who’ve lived through child slavery and organize themselves to speak out against the practice.  In 2013, this network will launch an advocacy plan to empower adult survivors to find their voice and play a leading role in ending child slavery.
  3. Encourage Empowerment

    • We’ve developed and trained Haitian and international non-governmental organizations and the Haitian Government in the process of reunifying families with their children who had become separated either by the earthquake or restavèk.
    • We’re collaborating with the Haitian government and NGOs to strengthen their response to kids who are at-risk of or are already living in slavery. Working with Haitian government staffers, we evaluated the system they use to respond to at-risk children.
    • We share best practices with other organizations as a member of the Vulnerable Children’s Working Group, the Ministry of Justice’s Committee on Justice for Minors and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor’s Committee on Child Slavery.