Freedom for the oppressed.

Seeking justice for the vulnerable and oppressed as well as encouraging holistic and responsive thinking toward that end.

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Counter-Trafficking Collaborative Platform Launched

Friday, December 06, 2013

This week marks the launch of Freedom Collaborative, an innovative effort to create a more connected international community of organizations, experts and ordinary citizens fighting to end human trafficking. 

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I know you are, but what am I?

When traveling to Haiti, I always carry a deck of cards. You’d be amazed how quickly a small crowd gathers when the cards come out – there is something universal about kids, always ready to laugh and play. Kids being kids.

So when something is out of kilter, it shows. On one trip I started some magic tricks and saw, out past a circle of smiling faces, one girl standing off by herself. I waved her over, but she had no emotion, no response, would not join the fun.

Come to find out, the other kids knew what I didn’t – she was not welcome, because she was a restavek. Taken in by a family who could afford to keep her, in exchange for work. Even when restavek children are not physically abused or neglected, they are always pushed to the fringe, reminded privately and publicly that they do not belong to the family or the community. Just like other children around her, but totally alone. This takes a tremendous toll.

We work with partners like the Restavek Foundation to prevent abuse and atrocities from happening to these children. But we also work to change foundational perceptions, by simply valuing these children as people. Paying for school uniforms or creating afterschool programs are actions that move someone from exclusion to inclusion – and so are statements of value.

We work with restaveks because they are kids, because they are people. Even if a host family, school system or country doesn’t notice right away – you can bet that the child does. And in that moment she just might start to wonder, and imagine, and feel what it means to be a kid again.

- JS

Learn about preventing abuse and changing perception for restavek children by visiting the Restavek Foundation

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