I was at the Afrospear blog and found out about this disturbing situation. Our children in Haiti, who are victims of the tragedy of poverty compounded by benign neglect of the western world and then the tragedy of the earthquake that hit in January this year, are being given away by their parents to orphanages in the hopes of getting better care than the parents themselves are able to give. The families feel that the orphanages can be a “godsend” to help them feed their children in the wake of back breaking poverty. Poverty is destroying their families, and their culture.
Then I looked further and found this story in the New York Times, dated Feb 6, 2010. It reports of a very bleak situation for many of the children of Haiti. Even though parents may be sending their children to these orphanages, some of those orphanages are completely ill equipped to care for the children, and many aren’t really orphanages at all, but fronts for child smugglers with intentions on selling the children into slavery, and into the sex trade. And because of rampant corruption and broken governmental infrastructures, the smugglers can come in and steal the children away with no fear of any government agency or law enforcement to stop them. Robbing our children of their innocense and beauty. And no one seems to care, at least in the American media, because I haven’t heard much of anything about this horror. But is that anything new? CNN is not about telling the truth of our black existence but more about lulling us to sleep with alot of racist madness, having us going back and forth debating petty issues instead of fighting for our liberation. There’s slavery going on, and it’s not 1810 but 2010!!! I said it before and I’ll say it again, we ought to ban CNN from our source of news, and start seeking out other media, lest we remain uninformed.
The following story speaks about the problem of enslavement of children for sex in Haiti, but this situation is not restricted to Haiti only, but it happens in other parts of the world as well. I read a report that stated that back in 2005, the internet child porn sites saw a flood of Sri Lankan, Indian and Thai boys and girls, and it wasn’t because Asian children were the new hot thing. When the 2004 tsunami hit in Banda Aceh, it created much devastation and untold destruction and created many orphaned children who no doubt were snatched up and exploited for sex and who knows what else.
But is it really enough to report the stories, and not do anything about it? But what can we do? Were can we fit in to help in such an overwhelming situation, in Haiti and in the world? There are many organizations that are working to change the situation of child slavery worldwide. The following video shows a man who has started an organization that works toward eradicating slavery worldwide. Kevin Bales, of Free the Slaves, is speaking about the ways in which this can be done. His approach is very objective and business like, but I appreciate his belief that it can be done, and his willingness to do his part. He contradicts himself when he says that people are not enslaved so that the enslavers can be mean to them but to make a profit. Then in his next breath he speaks about slavery in Africa where the slaves are whipped mercilessly. His presentation reminds me of Bill Gates introducing the new Apple product, but still I think it’s informative.
To add to this, I was watching Oprah recently, (yes I still do) and she did a show about a rich white family that adopted a Haitian girl named Claire, who’s about 7 years old. The child was one of the children that her parents gave away to an orphanage because of their inability to care for her. They did visit her regularly, and course they love her. So Claire isn’t actually an orphan, and her parents are alive. But she still was adopted out to Debbie and Scott, who live in America. The child now has access to material things that she could have only imagined previously, but I was still disturbed because the white family, though they had the material things that one may or may not need, and food and clothing and love, they didn’t have a means by which to help the girl navigate the rampant racism that she will undoubtedly face, and already is facing. The mom told of an outing to the grocery store with Claire, and there was a white man there, who unabashedly glared with eyes of hatred at little Claire, who the mom said was “completely oblivious” of the hatred aimed at her. The mom is surprised that not all in her rich community is accepting of interracial adoption. But she intends to teach Claire:
“Our goal is to teach her, as well as we’ve taught all of our children, just to love unconditionally,” Debbie says. “It doesn’t matter what the color of your skin. It doesn’t change who you are.”
In a racist society, and especially as a black child of another nation, in a rampantly racist community (not just society) Claire will need more than what the mom is saying above. Claire will need a connection to her own black history as a haitian girl and a connection to black people in America as an American girl. Her new parents, though well intentioned and full of love, didn’t seem to truly grasp this concept.
Claire’s new life is a far cry from where she lived in Haiti. Instead of an overcrowded orphanage, Claire now lives in a 4,000-square-foot home with a private lake. She used to share a twin bed with four other girls. Now, she has a queen-size bed to herself and a lawn to run around on.
In Haiti, Claire would get just one meal a day—a mound of rice and beans. Debbie says the abundance of food in her home has been a big change for Claire. “Her stomach gets hugely extended, and she ends up throwing up if she eats too much,” Debbie says. “Until she knew that she was going to get another meal, every mealtime was awful with her. It was this constant battle of how much food she can eat.”
Debbie says Claire has also had challenges adjusting to school and other children. “She’s very aggressive, and in Haiti they grow up learning to shove, push, kick, slap, whatever they need to do to get what they want. It’s survival,” Debbie says. “It’s what we call their coping skills living in Haiti. So obviously that behavior does not work here.”
Debbie and Scott have also had to adjust to their new lifestyle. “I would be lying if I was to say it hasn’t been difficult, because it has,” she says. “But the rewards have been far greater.”
So again, what can we possibly do to help the children of the world who are so vulnerable to the wickedness of this world, and specifically, for the children who are snatched away and sold into slavery and the sex industry worldwide? For me these things can be overwhelming. Black people worldwide have so very many problems it seems. So many things come against us. But I’ll take what Joyce Meyer of Joyce Meyer Ministries says about these situations: We can’t do everything but we can do our own part. (paraphrase)
Her ministry is very active in the issue of child slavery and sexual slavery and I trust her organization and though I can’t go to India, or Africa, or Haiti at this time, I can donate money to her organization, where she regularly shows concrete results of the work in these areas. http://www.joycemeyer.org/SearchResults.htm?search=child+slavery
My heart is broken for the children of Haiti and the world. The rampant wickedness in this world is so sad and disheartening. But we still have to do what we can do. I can speak about it here at this little blog and pray that all of you will speak about it where you are, and do everything that you can do to help end child slavery.