The economic conditions in Haiti are considerably poor as a result of low literacy rates, inadequate health conditions, and the country's vulnerability to natural disasters. Poverty is the main cause of child abuse and trafficking in Haiti, with 80% of residents living below the poverty line. The children living in rural areas of Haiti have experienced a systematic denial of their basic needs such as shelter, nutrition, health care and education. As a result of the widespread poverty in Haiti, families in rural areas have embraced a system of child labor known as the "restavek system" to combat these extreme cases of child poverty. 

Restavek, which means “to stay with” is a system of unpaid domestic child labor in Haiti. Children from rural areas are sent to live in larger cities like Port Au Prince. Here, they exchange their household labor for food, shelter, and education. Oftentimes, these children are not allowed to contact their parents and are even abandoned by their families. Many of these children have also reported occurrences of physical, sexual and verbal abuse by their host families. The exploitation of children within the restavèk system is one of the leading causes of child trafficking in Haiti.

We are working with a dedicated team to launch a 58:12 Haiti campus in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Due to the impact of COVID-19, plans have been slowed, our team is working locally to complete their missionary and language. Our next steps for 58:12 Haiti will be to take a scouting trip to Port-au-Prince to connect with locals, get familiar with the area, and see where they can meet the needs of locals. 

Stay tuned for more updates of our 58:12 Haiti team!

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