Written by Paul Fromm
Tuesday, 02 February 2010 21:29
As Many as 300,000 Child Slaves in Haiti
Haiti is a violent, evil failed society. Modern Haiti as a Negro Republic
was forged in a violent revolution by African slaves and freemen against
French White settlers and farmers who fed the island and produced a huge
surplus. So, ironically, a society that begun as a rejection of slavery has
reinstituted it with a vengeance against its own people. One such form of
slavery is the institution call "*restavecs"* from the French *"reste
avec"*or "stay with." The fiction is that poor parents in the country
give, but
usually sell, their children, usually girls, to a family in town, so that
they may be better cared for and educated. In fact, they'll receive no
education at all, They are household servants and drudges, worked long
hours, and often raped.

According to the Jean Cadet Restavec Foundation "*restavec* children are
usually responsible for preparing the household meals, fetching water from
the local well, cleaning inside and outside the house, doing laundry and
emptying bedpans. They usually sleep on the floor separate from members of
the family they serve, and are up at dawn before anyone else to do household
work. Sometimes they're physically and sexually abused." (*CNN*, February 1,

Child trafficking is widespread in Haiti. A National Public Radio report,
February 1, interviewed an author on the topic who said that in 2008, when
he flew from sophisticated New York City to Port au Prince, within five
hours of leaving New York he found himself in negotiation with a Haitian
willing to sell him a *"restavec"* for work and sex. The asking price for
the 14 year old girl was $100, but the man negotiated the deal for about $50
U.S. The negotiation was done openly and in public and seemed par for the
Painful plight of Haiti's *'restavec'* children

- Sende Sencil, 9, was staying at UNICEF hospital
- Sende was walking with doctors near hospital
- A man approached them on the street and reached out to grab Sende
- Sende appeared terrified of man she said was her "godfather"

*Port-au-Prince, Haiti (CNN)* -- For more than a week, Sende Sencil had gone
without bathing, until two young American doctors at the hospital where she
was being treated took the 9-year-old girl for a short walk outside to a
shower to wash off the filth and grime.

Beaming, and in clean clothes for the first time since the earthquake,
Sende, who was thought to be an orphan, returned to the hospital's tents
with the doctors.

As they walked, a man approached them on the street and reached out to grab

"I'm looking for her. She's my family," the doctors remember the man saying
in broken English. "I'm taking her home."

Pediatricians Tina Rezaiyan and Liz Hines, had been looking forward to the
day when Sende's parents might come to claim her, but this was not what
they'd anticipated.

"She was trembling and hiding behind us. She was so scared of him," said
Hines, a second-year pediatric resident at Johns Hopkins University in
Baltimore, Maryland.

"She was terrified. She'd been holding Liz's hand, and she clung to it and
wouldn't let go," said Rezaiyan, also a second-year pediatric resident at
Hopkins. "He kept trying to grab her, and I had to put myself between him
and Sende."

The two doctors whisked Sende back to the hospital tent, where the doctors
found an interpreter.

The man they'd met on the street wasn't her father, she told the
interpreter, but he wasn't a stranger, either. She called him her
"godfather," and she lived with him and his wife in Port-au-Prince. Her
parents, who live in Gonaives, a rural area several hours north of the
capital city, had sent her to live with them.
Video: Child trafficking in Haiti

- Haiti <>
- Human Trafficking <>
- U.S. Department of

Sende, they found out, is a restavec. Derived from the French "reste avec,"
the word in Creole literally means "to stay with." It's a not uncommon
arrangement where parents send their child -- usually a daughter -- to live
with another family. Sometimes the parents send a child away because they
can't afford to take care of her. Other times they send her away because
there's no school where they live. Sometimes the child is sold for money,
other times no money changes hands.

The United Nations condemns restavec as a "modern form of slavery" where
children are forced to serve the families they've been sent to by doing
domestic work.

The Jean Cadet Restavek Foundation estimates there are some 300,000 restavec
children in Haiti.

According to the foundation, restavec children are usually responsible for
preparing the household meals, fetching water from the local well, cleaning
inside and outside the house, doing laundry and emptying bedpans. They
usually sleep on the floor separate from members of the family they serve,
and are up at dawn before anyone else to do household work. Sometimes
they're physically and sexually abused.

*Sende's story*

When the earthquake hit, Sende says she was in a car, and became separated
from the adults who were with her, ending up at a makeshift hospital run by
the University of Miami on the grounds of a United Nations compound.

Sende had been there for about a week when on Wednesday, January 20, her
godfather found her as she walked back with the Hopkins doctors after taking
a shower.

As the two pediatric residents, Rezaiyan and Hines, asked her questions
through a Creole interpreter, they learned the man wasn't just her
godfather, he was her uncle, the husband of her mother's sister.

A more senior physician, Dr. Karen Schneider, an assistant professor of
pediatric emergency medicine at Hopkins who'd been appointed the head of
pediatrics at the tent hospital, joined them to talk to Sende.

"We asked if she'd been physically abused at her godparents' house, and she
said no," Schneider remembers. "I asked if she'd been sexually abused, if
she'd ever had to take her clothes off or if he'd touched her in certain
places, and she said no. I believe her, because she seemed confused by what
I was asking -- she had no idea what I was talking about."

The pediatricians tried to piece together details of Sende's life with her
godparents. She was undernourished; with no scales at the hospital, the
pediatricians estimated she weighed about 45 pounds, which is underweight
for a child her age. They noticed she hoarded the food she was given at the
hospital. When they took her to the toilet, she didn't know what it was or
how to use it.

The doctors said they learned Sende did laundry, ironing, dishes, and other
work around her godparents' house in exchange for going to school. Her
godmother did her hair before and after school and sometimes gave her Coke
and ice cream.

"After talking to her, it was clear that she hates and despises this
family," Schneider said.

While the pediatricians were talking to Sende, her godfather came into the
tent. The doctors asked him to leave.

The next day, Thursday, a worker from UNICEF came to talk to Sende and other
children at the hospital who were without parents. After they left, the
godfather came back again.

"Sende kept saying that the people with the letters across their shirts told
her she wasn't allowed to leave the tent, that they would come back for
her," Rezaiyan remembers. "We didn't know what she was talking about, and
then we realized she meant the UNICEF workers, who wore T-shirts that say
'UNICEF' across them in big letters."

"We told her not to go with her godfather if she didn't feel comfortable,"
says Nadine Perrault, UNICEF's regional adviser for childhood protection for
Latin America and the Caribbean.

The next day, Friday, the godfather came back with Sende's father.

"The father said the mother was at home, wounded from the earthquake, and
that's why she didn't come, too," Perrault said. "He was happy to find out
Sende was alive."

Concerned the father would return Sende to the godfather, Rezaiyan asked the
girl a question: "If you could be anywhere in the world, where would you

"America," she said, according to Rezaiyan. "I asked her, 'If you can't go
to the United States, then where would you want to be? She said, 'In this
hospital.' I asked her for her third choice, and she said with her mother."

*A difficult decision*

Sende acknowledged the man her godfather brought was indeed her father.
After more interviews with Sende, UNICEF decided to let her go with her
father, who promised to bring her to her mother and not send her back to the

Perrault, the UNICEF worker, said decisions about where to place children
are difficult, but that it was clear Sende should go with her father.

"She was eager to see her mom. She thought she was dead," said Perrault, the
UNICEF worker. "There's no way we could say no when she was willing to go
with her father."

She said she doesn't think the parents will give her away again to the
godparents, but that even if they did, they sent her to school and her
godmother did her hair every day.

"I don't consider her a restavec -- restavecs don't go to school," Perrault

But Joan Conn, executive director of the Restavek Foundation, disagrees.

"We have restavec children who go to school and are raped at home by an
uncle," she said. "If you ask a child for her first, second and third
choices of where to go and not one of those choices is to stay with the
godparents, that should tell you something. If she was fearful when her
godfather walked up to her, something's going on, even if her hair was
combed and she was in a school uniform."

Still even with her concerns, Conn said she's "sure UNICEF is making the
best decisions they know to make at this point."

On Monday, Perrault said UNICEF would not check on Sende themselves, and
instead would work with groups that she said would be visiting the family,
such as the Haitian government and non-government organizations.

However, on Thursday she sent an email saying a UNICEF worker, Gislet
Bordes, had visited Sende with journalists and that that girl and her mother
"are fine." Bordes did not respond to repeated calls and emails from CNN.

Even if Sende is doing okay now, some doubt whether anyone in Haiti -- a
poor country with few services to protect children even before the
earthquake -- will keep track of her to make sure she hadn't been sent again
to the man who terrified her.

"The agencies will fail in looking after her," said Dr. Art Fournier,
associate dean for community health at the University of Miami, who met
Sende at the hospital. "I would have kept her at the hospital until they
brought the mother forward and they could get a detailed history of Sende's

Fournier, who's been doing medical missions in Haiti for 15 years and is
author of "The Zombie Curse," a book about the country, said he worries the
parents will give her away again.

"The parents aren't bad parents. These are the survival choices they have to
make, and desperate times make for desperate survival choices," he said.
"Hopefully Sende can make an impassioned plea not to be sent back to the
godparents. At worst, she was being sexually abused by the godfather, and at
best she was being treated like a slave."

Schneider, the senior Hopkins pediatrician who interviewed Sende, said she
thinks it's likely the parents will give her away again. "Within a year,
that kid will be gone," said Schneider, a nun and pediatrician who's made
dozens of medical missions to Haiti. "They already gave her away once."

The young doctors who witnessed Sende's initial reaction to her godfather
fear for the worst.

"I asked her if she would ever want to go back to live with her godparents,
and she said, 'No, I wouldn't do that unless my parents told me I had to,' "
Rezaiyan said.

"I wanted to take her home with me so badly," she said through her tears.
"I'm probably going to think about her every day for the rest of my life."
Written by Paul Fromm
Monday, 01 February 2010 07:32
INDIA'S A RIOT Now listen here India
[image: funeral]

*Grief and anger:* friends and relatives carry the coffin of murdered
student Nitin Garg for burial in India. *Source:* Herald Sun

*INDIANS are a riot. Indeed, there are about 60,000 riots reported in India
each year. *

It boasts it is the world's largest democracy, but that "democracy" is very
much a work in progress, and the progress is slow.

Much of the country still has well-populated pockets of feudal brutality,
deadly caste war, and murderous religious conflict.

Indians still carry out so-called honour killings, an unpleasant business in
which concerned male family members, worried about the class, religion,
background, or maybe just the look of a girl's fiance or husband, brutally
kill one or both for bringing shame upon them. Apparently no irony is

Along with the popular takeaway chicken tikka masala, honour killings are a
notable Indian export.

Just last month a young secretary and mother was found dying in a London
street, bashed and with her right hand missing. Her husband and his mate
have been charged with her murder.

It's reported she'd wanted a divorce. I can't think why.

Geeta Aulakh's family is from Punjab, India's most socially and economically
advanced state, but life there can be barbaric. It was also home to Nitin
Garg, the young graduate murdered here recently,[ murdered in mysterious
circumstances in Australia in what has become a country-wide witch hunt for

Were it not such a tragic and serious matter, you could almost have found
amusing Indian politicians, and that country's sub-standard media, lecturing
Victoria on our "racist" attitudes.

Among Indian politicians calling for more action to prevent "racist" attacks
was External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, who threatened: "This heinous
crime on humanity, this is an uncivilised attack on innocent Indians. It
will certainly have some bearing on the bilateral ties between our two

Another minister rudely dismissed our police chief with an impertinent

He inherited a Victoria Police that has been unnecessarily secretive and
defensive for years, ever since Neil Comrie had the top job.

So it was like a breath of fresh air when he loudly went in to bat for his
officers, and you and me, telling his Indian critics "there are over 33,000
murders in India every year; 8000 of those are actually brides being killed
because the dowry's not sufficient".

Like more than a few Australian men, some Indian chaps are hopeless in the
kitchen, but they are also more careless; their stoves so often blow up,
killing their wives. It is called stove killing or bride burning. What
really happens is that the grumpy husband douses his inadequate wife in
kerosene and sets her alight, blaming his jerry-built cooker.

I don't suppose they're all guilty; I'm sure you've been in a few houses
yourself when the stove's blown up.

I've had my moments with the missus, but I've never looked to the Hotpoint
for an answer.

According to the United Nations, more people are murdered in India than in
any other country. The figures should shame the Indian Government and its
police, but they'd rather demand, as Mr Krishna did when Mr Garg was
murdered, that Australia "speedily" catch the killer.

I have some advice for Mr Krishna. In 2007, the last complete year for which
figures on Indian murders are available -- but you'll appreciate there's a
lot of adding up to do -- 32,318 murders were reported. The conviction rate
was 35.5 per cent.

India's Minister for Police should get on his bike -- or bullock cart -- and
"speedily" chase down those 20,845 scoundrels who escaped conviction.

Punjab's police chief is P.S. Gill and, like Overland, he is newly
appointed. He has his work cut out for him.

According to India's National Crime Records Bureau, Mr Gill has to deal with
perhaps 800 murders a year, and as many kidnappings and abductions among a
population only somewhat greater than Australia's.

His officers are kept busy, sometimes on matters that less commonly clutter
the diaries of their Australian counterparts: for instance, about 1000
unidentified bodies turn up each year in Punjab. Bodies, not missing people.

Since Mr Garg was killed, many Indians -- not just those indolent thugs
burning effigies of Kevin Rudd -- have turned on Australia and Australians
and lazily and reactively branded us as racist.

The head of the Right-wing Hindu Shiv Sena party, Bal Thackeray, said he
would bar Australian cricketers from playing locally. "We will not allow
kangaroo cricketers to play in Mumbai ... Our boys are being stabbed, burnt
and shot at in that country," he said.

I am unaware any of "his boys" have been "burnt", but maybe he's confusing
himself with local cases.

There were also calls for a trade embargo, a predictable call to suspend the
recruitment of students by Australian universities and, hurtfully,
"Bollywood superstar" Amitabh Bachchan's rejection of an honorary degree
from a Brisbane university.

Who? I looked him up on the internet, and just last week he won a local
best-actor award. Receiving it, he said: "It feels strange to win a
best-actor award. I mean, what exactly am I doing here?"

I have no idea, mate, but keep talking.

Nitin Garg's death is a tragedy. For him, his family in Punjab, his friends,
and for our community.

We don't know yet who killed him. It probably was an opportunistic robbery
gone wrong, but he may have been killed by someone out to harm an Indian. He
may have even been killed by an Indian. They have form, home and away.

So let's solve the crime and get the facts. Let's not jump to any

Well, maybe one: Australia is a safer and more tolerant country than India
will ever be.
Written by Paul Fromm
Monday, 01 February 2010 07:32

*Here's a proud muscular immigration policy that puts the interests of its
people and country first. Too bad it's not th epolicy of Canada or the U.S.*
*Let's look at Mexico's main immigration law.*

Mexico welcomes only foreigners who will be useful to Mexican society:

Foreigners are admitted into Mexico "according to their possibilities of
contributing to national progress." (Article 32)
Immigration officials must "ensure" that "immigrants will be useful elements
for the country and that they have the necessary funds for their sustenance"
and for their dependents. (Article 34)
Foreigners may be barred from the country if their presence upsets "the
equilibrium of the national demographics," when foreigners are deemed
detrimental to "economic or national interests," when they do not behave
like good citizens in their own country, when they have broken Mexican laws,
and when "they are not found to be physically or mentally healthy." (Article
The Secretary of Governance may "suspend or prohibit the admission of
foreigners when he determines it to be in the national interest." (Article
Mexican authorities must keep track of every single person in the country:

Federal, local and municipal police must cooperate with federal immigration
authorities upon request, i.e., to assist in the arrests of illegal
immigrants. (Article 73)
A National Population Registry keeps track of "every single individual who
comprises the population of the country," and verifies each individual's
identity. (Articles 85 and 86)

A national Catalog of Foreigners tracks foreign tourists and immigrants
(Article 87), and assigns each individual with a unique tracking number
(Article 91).

Foreigners with fake papers, or who enter the country under false pretenses,
may be imprisoned:

Foreigners with fake immigration papers may be fined or imprisoned. (Article
Foreigners who sign government documents "with a signature that is false or
different from that which he normally uses" are subject to fine and
imprisonment. (Article 116)
Foreigners who fail to obey the rules will be fined, deported, and/or
imprisoned as felons:

Foreigners who fail to obey a deportation order are to be punished. (Article
Foreigners who are deported from Mexico and attempt to re-enter the country
without authorization can be imprisoned for up to 10 years. (Article 118)
Foreigners who violate the terms of their visa may be sentenced to up to six
years in prison (Articles 119, 120 and 121). Foreigners who misrepresent the
terms of their visa while in Mexico -- such as working with out a permit --
can also be imprisoned.

Under Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony. The General Law on
Population says,

"A penalty of up to two years in prison and a fine of three hundred to five
thousand pesos will be imposed on the foreigner who enters the country
illegally." (Article 123)
Foreigners with legal immigration problems may be deported from Mexico
instead of being imprisoned. (Article 125)
Foreigners who "attempt against national sovereignty or security" will be
deported. (Article 126)
Mexicans who help illegal aliens enter the country are themselves considered
criminals under the law:

A Mexican who marries a foreigner with the sole objective of helping the
foreigner live in the country is subject to up to five years in prison.
(Article 127)
Shipping and airline companies that bring undocumented foreigners into
Mexico will be fined. (Article 132)
All of the above runs contrary to what Mexican leaders are demanding of the
United States. The stark contrast between Mexico's immigration practices
versus its American
immigration preachings is telling. It gives a clear picture of the Mexican
government's agenda: to have a one-way immigration relationship with the
United States.

Let's call Mexico's bluff on its unwarranted interference in U.S.
immigration policy. Let's propose, just to make a point, that the North
American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) member nations standardize their
immigration laws by using Mexico's own law as a model.

*This article was first posted at "Mexico's Glass House," Center for
Security Policy Occasional Paper, April 3, 2006.*
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