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Human Trafficking
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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                  

Republic of Haiti

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty. Two-thirds of all Haitians depend on the agricultural sector, mainly small-scale subsistence farming, and remain vulnerable to damage from frequent natural disasters, exacerbated by the country's widespread deforestation.

US economic engagement under the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act, passed in December 2006, has boosted apparel exports and investment by providing tariff-free access to the US … the apparel sector accounts for two-thirds of Haitian exports and nearly one-tenth of GDP.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]


Scope and Magnitude: Haitian labor laws require employers to pay domestic workers over the age of 15, so many host families dismiss restaveks before they reach that age. Dismissed and runaway restaveks make up a significant proportion of the large population of street children, who frequently are forced to work in prostitution or street crime by violent criminal gangs.   - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   [full country report]

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Haiti.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of child prostitution are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got started, how they survive, and how some succeed in leaving.  Perhaps your paper could focus on runaways and the abuse that led to their leaving.  Other factors of interest might be poverty, rejection, drug dependence, coercion, violence, addiction, hunger, neglect, etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the manipulative and dangerous adults who control this activity.  There is a lot to the subject of Child Prostitution.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Five Years After Stockholm [PDF]

ECPAT: Fifth Report on implementation of the Agenda for Action

ECPAT International, November 2001

[accessed 13 September 2011]

[B] COUNTRY UPDATES – HAITI – It has been reported that child sex tourism continues to be a problem in Port au Prince with boys being the main victims of American and European ‘clients’. Street children are also sexually exploited by members of the Haitian elite.

Psst! Buy Yourself A Haitian Slave-Child For A Hundred Bucks

Gary Younge, the Guardian, reporting from the Dominican Republic, 2005-09-28

[accessed 25 January 2016]

On market day in Dajabón, a bustling Dominican town on the Haitian border, you can pick up many bargains if you know where to look. You can haggle the price of a live chicken down to 40 pesos (72p); wrestle 10lb of macaroni from 60 to 50 pesos; and, with some discreet inquiries, buy a Haitian child for the equivalent of £54.22.  There is a thriving trade in Haitian children in the Dominican Republic, where they are mostly used for domestic service, agricultural work or prostitution. - htcp


*** ARCHIVES ***

Human Rights Reports » 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 10, 2020

[accessed 30 August 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - The minimum age for consensual sex is 18 years, and the law has special provisions for rape of persons who are 16 years of age or younger. The law prohibits the corruption of youth younger than age 21, including prostitution, with penalties ranging from six months to three years of imprisonment for offenders. The law for human trafficking prescribes prison sentences of seven to 15 years’ imprisonment and a fine ranging from 200,000 to 1.5 million Haitian Gourdes (HTG) ($2,070 to $15,500). The penalty for human trafficking with aggravating circumstances, which includes cases involving the exploitation of children, is up to life imprisonment.

MINUJUSTH reported the HNP investigated 136 cases of sexual and gender-based violence between January and June. Of the 140 victims in those cases, 57 were minor girls and eight were minor boys. Several civil society groups reported impoverished children were often subjected to sexual exploitation and abuse. According to these groups, children were often forced into prostitution or transactional sex to fund basic needs such as school-related expenses. Recruitment of children for sexual exploitation and pornography is illegal, but the United Nations reported criminal gangs recruited children as young as 10 years of age.

2018 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2019

[accessed 30 August 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 596]

Children are trafficked both internally and externally, primarily to the Dominican Republic, other Caribbean countries, South America, and the United States. NGOs have reported that children illegally crossing the Haiti-Dominican Republic border are often accompanied by adults paid to act as the children’s parents or guardians until they reach the Dominican Republic. (5,6,10,26) Some of these children are reunited with relatives in the Dominican Republic, while others engage in commercial sexual exploitation, domestic work, agriculture, street vending, and begging. (5,6,10,27)

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 31 January 2003

[accessed 8 February 2011]

[42] The Committee is concerned at the high incidence of violence against and abuse of children within the family environment, including sexual abuse and neglect of children, and that insufficient efforts have been made to protect children. The Committee is particularly concerned at the very high rate of sexual abuse of girls (more than one third of women were sexually abused before the age of 15 years). In addition, the Committee is concerned at the lack of statistical data and a comprehensive plan of action, and the insufficient infrastructures.

[65] The Committee notes that the State party has signed but not ratified the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and on the involvement of children in armed conflict.

32nd Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) 2003 Report [RTF]

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child -- Report: 13 January – 7 February 2003

[accessed 22 May 2011]

II. COUNTRY REVIEWS - [3] HAITI (27 JANUARY 2003) - The economic and political situation in Haiti is extremely serious. There has been no Parliament for several years and therefore laws cannot be adopted. The lack of government funds is such that concrete measures cannot be taken. The gaps between the very undeveloped rural areas and the less undeveloped areas of urban centers are widening. Children from poverty stricken families are given to richer families where they serve in some cases as mere domestic and in some cases, as sexual slaves ("restavek system").

30,000 Haitian children smuggled annually

China Daily, 200511/08

[accessed 8 February 2011]

Around 30,000 Haitian children are illegally smuggled into the Dominican Republic every year to work as child prostitutes or be forced into other degrading occupations, UN and Organization of American States (OAS) officials said on Sunday.  In Haiti itself, children are recruited as gang members or are tortured, kidnapped, sexually and physically abused, abandoned and traded like personal property.htcp

Relationship Between Child Domestic Servitude & The Sexual Exploitation Of Children

Anti-Slavery International, 2002

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 22 May 2011]

LINKS BETWEEN CHILD DOMESTIC WORK AND SEXUAL EXPLOITATION - In Haiti, restavèk girls are sometimes called "la pou sa", a Creole term meaning "there for that".  They are accepted sexual outlets for the men or boys of the household.

Conflict Profile: Haiti

Canadian Consortium on Human Security CCHS

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 22 May 2011]

[5] ANALYSIS - A Human Rights Report on Trafficking of Persons, Especially Women and Children by the Protection Project of the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies notes that Haiti has high rates of child prostitution and AIDS and that some 300,000 children work as household servants.

#666: restavek : Russell comments

Anne Russell, 8 Oct 1999

[accessed 22 May 2011]

The video focused on child prostitution and the growth of AIDS in this population, but the links between how restaveks are treated, why they run away from their "adopted families", why they end up on the streets, why they take on prostitution, and why they catch AIDS is clear.  And very, very sad.




The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 8 February 2011]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - An estimated 2,500 to 3,000 Haitian children are trafficked annually to the Dominican Republic. According to UNICEF, the civil unrest in 2004 has resulted in an increased number of children trafficked to the Dominican Republic to work as beggars or prostitutes.  Estimates on the number of street children in Haiti vary from 5,000 to 10,000, according to studies by UNICEF and Save the Children/Canada, respectively. There are reported incidents of commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 9 February 2020]

SECTION 6 WORKER RIGHTS – [d] According to the NGO Haitian Coalition for the Defense of the Rights of the Child, children worked primarily as restaveks; however, some worked on the street as vendors or beggars, and some were involved in prostitution.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Child Prostitution - Haiti",, [accessed <date>]