17 November 2009

Former and current child domestic workers, watch a comedy performance at a rehabilitation summer camp.Children in domestic service live with a host family undertaking domestic chores in return for their board and lodging. They are frequently exploited, ill treated and denied their right to education, healthcare and food. Their situation has been described as a form of modern slavery by the UN.

Girls are also at grave risk of physical abuse and sexual violence, which is pervasive and widespread in Haiti. This particularly affects young girls as more than half of all those who report being raped are 18 or younger. Girls in domestic service are isolated from the rest of society with virtually no one concerned for their welfare and dependent on their host family, it is difficult for them to break free from abuse. Many end up on the streets where they are forced to sell their bodies for sex in order to survive.

Haiti lacks strong laws to protect the rights of children. Although it has signed up to international treaties, it has failed to integrate these into national law. Take action and call on the Haitian parliament to  protect Haitian girl domestic workers.

Girls in domestic service in Haiti are caught in a vicious cycle of deprivation and violence. They are victims of discrimination and are at grave risk of physical abuse and sexual violence.

Sign the petition calling on the Haitian Parliament to:

•    Reform national legislation to bring it into line with Haiti’s international obligations, in particular under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and International Labour Organization Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour;
•    Adopt and promote, without delay, a Children’s Code to enshrine the provisions of the Convention of the Rights of the Child into Haitian law;
•    Adopt without delay special legislation for the protection of women and girls against all forms of gender-based violence and allocate adequate resources in forthcoming national budgets for the enforcement of this legislation