Haitian Street Kids, Inc.  (HSKI)

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It is not easy to imagine the cruelty and inhumanity of what we are trying to rid our country of. If you do not yet know what we are dealing with, please take a little time to learn about Restavek Child Slavery system in Haiti.
You can find this information on the following pages.

The pictures and stories below are from a small sample of the 3000+ street kids with which HSKI has developed a relationship. These stories are from the initial interviews conducted in and around Port au Prince and Petion-ville, Haiti with the children we have helped since 1999.
 

Gaining the trust and friendship of these abused and hurting children is not an easy task.
Their history and experiences on the streets, and/or as slave children, tell them that caution and distrust is the best policy if one is to avoid the abuses and exploitation that is much too common in their young, difficult and dangerous lives.

James, 11 y/o, runaway slave child. He was severely beaten then held outside a car and drug to the next corner and left after being found by owner sleeping on the porch of his business during a heavy rain storm.
James shown 4 months after being taken from the streets and placed in the HSKi boys home.
Jeznel, 12 y/o, rescued restavek slave child on first day at HSKI after removing him from owners. He could not speak or look anyone in the face when speaking to him. Was purchased at age 7 by a group of street carpenters as an errand boy. He wa severely abused, beaten daily, struck in face by lumber, and had left arm broken numerous times without treatment. Arm is now crippled and frozen in the "L" position. Suffered from severe PTSD.
Jeznel shown one year after being removed from owners by HSKI and taken to the HSKI home.
Peterson, age 9 y/o.  "I don't have no mother or father. Some people stole me when I was real small and had me working for them and they would beat me all the time with what ever they got their hands on. They would lift me up and slam me on the floor. Look on my head and see these scars. Sometimes I would pass out."  
Sold as a restavek at age 3 - 4 years.
Peterson 4 months after being taken from owners and placed  in the HSKI home for boys.
Ti Zoe, approximately 7 years old.  At about 3 years of age, TiZoe was blinded in a voodoo ceremony designed to grant favors.  After one year when favors did not materialize, he was abandoned in a Port au Prince slum, Salino. Discovered by HSKI 2007.  
(Photo 1: TiZoe (Dolph)  Photo 2:  Michael of HSKI with TiZoe  Photo 3: Michael of HSKI introducing Sean Penn to TiZoe

Steven, age 12 y/o.  "After my father died, I was living only with my stepmother. She wouldn't always let me stay with her sometimes when she would get mad. The house burned down, and after that she disappeared and I never saw her again. I had nowhere to go because there was no house anymore and I don't really know anyone else. All I could do was walk around on the streets and stay around the other kids that live out there."
Steven one year after being taken from the streets and placed in the HSKI boys home.
A shack was discovered by HSKI at the city dump bordering Cite Soleil. This shack made of cardboard, refuse and tin was the sleeping quarters for 15 restavek slave children owned by several different families. Robinson was one of the children and found to have advanced malnutrition, parasitic infection, and evidence of numerous and frequent beatings. His duties were to scour the dump for items that could be recycled or resold, and to clean the home and living area of the owners, as well as hauling water or whatever else the owners needed done. He reported being beaten with an extension cord up to five times per day to "keep him serious about his work", as he was told. He was rescued and removed from the area near midnight while the owners slept. Robinson is shown here with a visiting missionary to HSKI who accompanied us on this mission.
Robinson at the HSKI home for boys six months later after being rescued.
Ricardo, 10 y/o. Runaway restavek slave child. Ran from a severely abusive alcholic owner who purchased him at age 5.
Kept chained for most of his life to the back of the owners shack and beaten almost daily. Found by HSKI sleeping in front of the notorious Haiti General Hospital after being refused entry and care by security guard due to obvious inability to pay.
He was unable to walk due to large infected lacerations to bottom of right foot.
Was found suffering from malnutrition, parasites, severe PTSD and numerous infected lacerations and contusions.


Tiga, approximately 5 y/o. Found abandoned and near death on the back streets of Cite Soleil, the worst and most dangerous slum in the western hemisphere. Required CPR followed by three days hospitalization shortly after being found. Tiga, which only means "little boy" in Haitian Creole, had been abandoned at age 2 due to the belief that he had "demons", and may contaminate the other children in the family. He had been living alone and surviving on hand-outs and refuse. These areas are heavily influenced by Voodoo, and the hougan (Voodoo priest) has the last word in these matters. After being taken by HSKI and receiving medical treatment, he wa found to have epilepsy that had been interpreted as being "demons".
 
Tiga shown 4 months after being taken by HSKI. Due to his medical condition, was placed in the  Wings of Hope home for handicapped children.



Izarak, 15 y/o. "I'm not living with my mother because a very long time ago she sent me to live with a lady they said was my stepmother. (Sold as restavek) I lived there and worked very hard for her for a long time. She got tired of me, I guess, and put me out about 1 year ago. I don't know where my mother lives now. When I lived with the stepmother, she would leave and not come back for 2 or 4 days and wouldn't leave any food or anything anywhere for me or any water either. The last time she came back she said I didn't clean her house while she was gone so she started hitting me with a board again and said to leave and don't come back."



Carlo, 13 y/o.  "I never knew my mother or father because they died when I was a baby. I was living with the woman who took me after my family died. I had to run away from her because she beat me too much. All my life she beats me. She beats me with electric cords. She also beats me with broom sticks. She also used to slap me in my face and she always worked me to death day and night washing dishes, cleaning pots and pans and lifting buckets of water. She sends me to buy things and if I forget one little thing, she beats me for it. I've been on the street for 1 year now."
Taken to be raised as restavek after death of family.
Daniel. "My mother is dead as well as my father. I've been on the streets for about 4 years, I think. I don't have any place to go to, so I'm living on the street. Sometimes I get beat up pretty badly by the other kids but that doesn't matter, because I have to be with them to stay alive. They protect me at times as well."

Being too small to work, and being the frequent victim of larger street people who would take the money he made each day, Daniel attempted to take a pastry from a street vendor out of hunger and desperation. He was caught by the vendor and several men loitering nearby. They took Daniel to the side of one of the buildings in the area, where they amputated the little finger of his left hand as punishment. He was told that if he attempted to steal from any vendor again, they would take his whole hand.
"I've been on the streets for four years. I make my living by washing cars and loading them up or sometimes begging. I'm not living with my parents because they told me to leave a long time ago, then they moved away somewhere and disappeared (abandoned) They have many other kids and said they can't afford me. They said I should be able to make my own living without bothering them."


Heroder.  "When I was just a little boy my mother broke up with my father. She said I was the reason he left her. While living with my mother, she alway beat me for no reason what so ever. Sometimes she would strip me down to bare skin and beat me with an electric cord or with this thing they call "rigoise", which is made with dried cow hide. After she would beat me, she goes and gets some lemons to pass all over my bruised body to ease the swelling. The stripes on me would appear like burn marks. She didn't want the neighbors to know what she was doing to me in the house. She told me the best thing I could do is leave her house.
 I couldn't take it anymore, so I ran away. I've been on the street for a few years now."

"I've been on the streets for about five years. I think my mother is still alive but she's staying in Jacmel and my father is dead. I never knew him. My mother is living with this guy and he doesn't like me at all. He always beats me for no reason. They made me leave my home because of that. After I left home and went to Port au Prince, a lady took me off the street and told me I was going to work in her restaurant. It wasn't really a restaurant, it was a street kitchen where she sold cooked foods. She made me wash pots and pans from morning to night. She would beat me with the pots and pans on the head when she wasn't happy with my work. I was only seven when I was taken by her. I have this big scar on my forehead where she would hit me with hot skillet when she was mad. She did this many times. I have headaches almost everyday now because of this. One time when she was really mad, she dropped a big iron pot full of hot grease from frying chicken onto my hand while it was still in the wash basin. I thought it cut off my hand, but it only crushed it and burned it real bad. She wouldn't take me to the hospital because she might get in trouble. She only wrapped my hand in rags until it got well."





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