8 February, 2010 — Mathaba.net
In November 1989, the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, recognizing ‘that in all countries in the world, there are children living in exceptionally difficult conditions, and that such children need special consideration.’ Then in May 2000, the General Assembly adopted an Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
In 1990, the UN Commission on Human Rights appointed a Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography with a mandate to investigate the problem and submit reports to the General Assembly.
Today, Gulnara Shahinian holds the post, and on June 10, 2009 addressed Haiti’s Restaveks, a century-old system under which impoverished families, mostly rural and unable to adequately provide for their children, send them to live with wealthier or less poor ones in return for food, shelter, education, and a better life in return for tasks performed as servants – de facto slaves subjected to verbal and physical abuse.
Some as young as three are beaten, forced to do anything asked, request nothing, speak only when spoken to, display no emotion, and receive none of the benefits parents expected, just exploitation and mistreatment that’s often severe. Too often it’s from relatives as poor families often send their children to live with those better able to provide care, yet they seldom do.