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July 13th, 2009
11:58 PM ET

A capacity for cruelty is never justified

Dr. Sanjay Gupta | BIO
AC360° Contributor
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

Last week I was in Haiti, where I spent my time walking around with an adorable young gal named Deena. She was 15 years-old, and was born and raised in Haiti.

Within minutes of meeting her, there were things that were impossible not to notice. Her clothes were ragged and clearly too small for her. She hardly ever smiled, and if she did – it was fleeting and purse-lipped. She didn’t look me in the eyes, and in fact spent most of the time staring at the ground.

Her voice was weak, and, her body was frail. When I touched her back, I could feel a hollow space. As part of her introduction, I was told Deena was a Restavek, which in Creole means to “stay with.” Our guide Jean Robert Cadet was more blunt. “Make no mistake,” he said. “She is a child slave.”

Strong words, I thought. I wanted to see for myself and that is why I found myself in a shanty town outside Port au Prince, Haiti at 5 a.m. last Sunday. It was already well over 90 degrees and there was no breeze whatsoever. We were soaking in our shirts just standing there, which makes what I began to see that much harder to imagine.

Hundreds of kids, ranging in age from 4 to teenagers, were making their way down the surrounding hills that were covered in small huts. They all carried a bucket, most of which were five gallons in size. Fill a bucket with five gallons of water, and it is around 40 pounds in weight. A lot to lift, let alone carry - for about a half a mile up stairs and ill defined rocky paths.

While the water hole was at sea level, most of these Restaveks carried the water up small mountains, more than a 1000 feet in the sky. And, Deena was right there with them, and would do this not once, not twice, but seven times a day. And that is just for starters.

She would also clean the hut, empty the chamber pots (there is no plumbing, obviously), wash all the dishes and get on her hands and knees to mop the floors. She does all this while the inhabitants of the home, who told us they are her relatives, sit back and watched.

Deena performed all of this work before 10 a.m., and then it was time to go and work at her owner’s home. We learned that she was being “lent out’ this particular morning. Mind you, Deena is not paid, and she is hardly fed – just scraps at the end of the day.

A 2006 picture of poor housing conditions in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Hundreds of thousands very young children have been handed over to 'host' families to work as Restaveks.

A 2006 picture of poor housing conditions in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Hundreds of thousands very young children have been handed over to 'host' families to work as Restaveks.

All of this comes with the constant threat of physical abuse, which she - at one point - received almost daily. She has been thrown into walls and whipped mercilessly, while being made to kneel on a cheese grater. As it turns out, whips are sold openly in the market, with the express purpose of child whipping. Half of the girls have been sexually abused and Deena told me no one has ever shown her one sign of true affection. It wasn’t until the age of 14 that someone gave her a hug.

That someone was Jean Robert Cadet, who himself was a Restavek 40 years ago. He cries when he tells me how little has changed since he finally escaped his awful life. He has now dedicated his life to trying to solve the condition of other Restaveks through his foundation called the Restavek Foundation.

He is slowly making progress. He focuses on trying to get kids into schools, as it seems to be their one chance. He has reunited Restavek children with their biological parents and is working on establishing funding for transitional housing for these children, with the hopes of adoption. Deena is on his list, and in the days and weeks to come may finally be freed from her owner.

As you read this, you may take issue with the term slave. Fair enough. According to Anti Slavery International, a slave is 1) forced to work, through mental or physical threat 2) owned or controlled through mental or physical abuse 3) dehumanized, treated as a commodity.

As I read this and looked at Deena, I could not see how she could be defined as anything but a slave. I finally did get a chance to confront Deena’s owner, and you can see that in our full video report.

I caught up with Jean Robert the next day and ask him – “in the end, does this all happen because of poverty?” He is adamant. “No, no, no. Poverty doesn’t explain how one human being can treat another this way,” he exclaims.

I realize he is right. While there is a capacity for cruelty that have formed some of the most abominable chapters in our human history, there is never a justification. Jean Robert calms down, wipes his eyes and says “I don’t understand how anyone could treat a child this way. I look into the eyes of children, and I see angels.”

To learn more about restavecs and the organizations like the Restavec Foundation, that are working to end this ‘modern day slavery” in Haiti, visit our Impact Your World page.

soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Mimi

    The problem with restavek cannot be solved in the city,Port au Prince. You have to go to the chore of the problem, the countryside, to teach the people to keep thir kids home despite of their hardship. We need to provide them with training, teach them basic skills such as sewing, embroidery, and how to start a small business.

    July 14, 2009 at 12:52 am |
  2. Enock S.

    Sanjay,

    A restavek is more ofenly a parents who have to many kids and find or looking for some parents or freinds (godfather or godmother) who live in the Capital or a big City to take one or two kids for them, ofen it's a Relatives. I'm not try to justify this behavior but the parent have the right to take his son or daughther back. The real problem is people have more children the can afford.

    July 14, 2009 at 12:38 am |
  3. R. Antoine

    I totally agree with you Joe G. The word "slave" is suggestive so anyone can define it as they see fit. Yes, Haiti is a poor country but carrying a bucket on one's head is far from being slavery. I sympathize with the condition that people are living in but unless the child was forced to carry that bucket on her head for hours that's not slavery. We have to understand that people do not have inside plumbing; therefore they have to go to wells to get water. The only mean of transporting the water is by carrying it on their heads because the bucket is too heavy to carry it by hand. They use large buckets to carry the water because if they don't they have to make several trips, which of course is very time consuming and tiresome. I hate watching those reports about Haiti that only shows one side of the story. The reporter should have questioned the little girl about why she's carrying the bucket on her head. They should have also observed to see how far the girl has to go to get the water. Of course the bucket is heavy it’s full with water, but that's not slavery. Like John Stossell will say "Give me a break".

    July 14, 2009 at 12:28 am |
  4. Nadia Deslhommes

    First of all, I would like to thanks Sanjay for sharing this story. The world need to know what is happening in Haiti, specialy to these kids. When I look back into my own life, I cna say that I was a slave also when I was a child. I am the unique female in a family of eigth. My life was very miserable. I used to carry those five gallons of water on top of my head working miles and miles to the house. I had to cook, cleaned, and washed the floor over my knees but the difference between Deena and I is that, I was a slave in my own house and my mother sent me to school, feed me and brought me clothes. The origin of the slavery among these kids like Deena started just like this, we used to it, we were raised this way so that it becomes part of our lives. I never thought that I was a slave in my own home until I came to this country and understand that children should not be treated like animals.

    July 14, 2009 at 12:22 am |
  5. JeanPi

    modern day slavery is a bit too strong of a title for this story. Everything needs to be place in contexts. As it was stated in the report, it is unfortunately a way of live in Haiti.
    Having lived in the USA for over 20 years, I certainly find the story appaling as I do not approve or support abuse in any shape or forms. However Restavek in itself is part of the culture. To resolve this problem one need to understand why restavek exist. How it comes about. it is unfortunately a very complex and difficult topic to grasp if one does not live there or understand the culture.

    July 14, 2009 at 12:18 am |
  6. Mimi

    Whatching your piece on the "restaveks" bought me back to a reality that I sometimes want to forget. I am not proud of it and have always been against it, but I also understand for some parents this is their way of a better future. The parents send these kids to the city with the hope that they will learn living skills that will allow them to work, later on, either as a housekeeper or at a fatory and they will be able to provide for the rest of the family. I know sometimes they are treated very badly but I do not agree with calling it SLAVERY. It is what it is- "RESTAVEK" meaning "stays with" but not slavery because they can run away and it happens more often than you think. They will not be sought after. Also, once they turn 15-16 years of age, they leave to go work with somebody that will pay them, then they start their own little business and provide for the rest of the family back on the countryside. I am not trying to make excuses for it, again I am not proud of it, but I think I can enlight you a little bit about the situation. To understand it, you have to go deeper than Port au Prince, you have to go to the countryside and speak with the people. A restavek in the city is sometimes their only hope.

    July 14, 2009 at 12:13 am |
  7. Norma (TX)

    Referring to Joe G (Illinois) comments, I can understand your frustration and anger, but there is a huge difference here. These children do not have a choice. Their lives are taken away and forced to do things that not even criminals are forced to do. When you say that most Americans are in depth, the "Mexicanitos" are living 3 dozen per apartment, women into porn, and the like, the majority of these people made that choice. Not even God, will force us to do something because He is a just God and let's us choose our paths. I'm not saying not to help them, of course we should extend a hand out to them, but it's like the alcoholic who chooses to take that first drink. These innocent children do not choose to live this way.

    Dr. Gupta, thank you so much for your courage and the work you do. I am looking into this organization to see how I can help. Thanks and God bless.

    July 14, 2009 at 12:12 am |
  8. Krobo

    Not to sound unsympathetic, I am from West Africa and we grew up in most of these countries within those areas with people in poverty and they come from even worse places than what you displayed in your report. I can assure you that given the choice, Deena would probably choose to remain where she is than return back to her parents. In the West where people are used to utilities like power and water being constantly available these things seem inhumane, but I doubt that this qualifies as slavery. There is definitely emotional and physical strain on the poor girl among others but it also builds character and makes us survivors. We pray for the day that these countries would be stable enough and without corruption that parents would not need to send their children into perceived suffering to escape the worse suffering they were originally experiencing. As for the whips being sold, some people definitely use it to torture others but that is cultural discipline. I know as a kid I was whipped by teachers, older kids and my parents when I digressed. I don't regret a single punishment I underwent and the ones they got wrong, now that I'm an adult I discuss with them and we always knew it was out of love and not hatred. I watched the report and felt that since I fetched water numerous times too in my boarding school for 5 years and received no hugs and got beaten regularly was I a slave too? Those people who punished me then are some of my closest friends now and not all of them need to be vilified.

    July 14, 2009 at 12:06 am |
  9. Lynee

    I volunteer every year in Haiti. We as americans take what we have for granted and you can not begin to imagine the depth of poverty in Haiti. It is so sad because Haiti is only a 3 hour flight from Florida but we let these terrible conditions exist so close to our own free country.

    July 14, 2009 at 12:05 am |
  10. Helmut M. Peters

    I was just watching your report on modern day slavery and i wanted to say that as a young man growing up in Liberia that was a way of life. in the u.s. its called doing chores and i feel that it made me stronger and well prepared for what ever life throws my way.

    July 14, 2009 at 12:00 am |
  11. Cedrick R

    Stop always singling out Haiti (Freed from slavery since 1804).
    CNN should take a look at the slavery issues in India (Sanjay could report).
    Restaveks are not slaves!! The gesture of playing host to children in need is practiced everywhere in the world.

    P.S: CNN should do a positive story on Haiti...We would be happy to help produce.

    July 13, 2009 at 11:58 pm |
  12. angela okey, long beach, ca

    Dr. Gupta I just finished watching your report and must share that I am appauld! To see the plight of the children being treated in such an inhumane way very upsetting and brought tears to my eyes... What do you think we can do, other than advocacy and awareness. It's astonishing that in today's world we tolerate slavery, especially child-slavery. Your report was unlear to me about the approximate number of children affected. I'd like to know how many children are involved and by what method can they be freed from "restavek" status?

    July 13, 2009 at 11:33 pm |
  13. Lakshmi Aradhya

    Sanjay,

    This is a very sad story. It is very unfortunate to see and hear such stories. We should always hope and do the best for all people. You are already doing this and thank you for sharing such stories.

    Children are resilient and we should all help them get out of such situations. Even if it's one child at a time.

    July 13, 2009 at 11:32 pm |
  14. Ruby Peters

    What can we do to stop this practice. How can we help?

    July 13, 2009 at 11:29 pm |
  15. Franck

    Sanjay/CNN,
    Thanks for exposing the hard truth of what's happening at our neighbor next door. We all have a role to play. We can provide practical resources to help with this very real and unfortunate poverty stricken country. Haiti is small enough and close enough to the US for many individuals to help provide a place for all of Haiti's poor children to live, go to school and grow up to become contributing member of society.

    July 13, 2009 at 11:27 pm |
  16. Denise

    I get sick watching these horrid things happening to innocent children...and still can not fathom why people treat each other this way. Please tell me how I can help...donating some money does not seem enough...I have time, interest, contacts and would like to do whatever I can to help as many of these children as I can.

    July 13, 2009 at 11:26 pm |
  17. Carla Pierre

    I'm very dissapointed about your report about Haiti as Haitien myself certainly they don't tell you the whole story what dina was doing is not slave she lives with a family to help out bc her parent could not take care her a lot of time this kid are fed have a bed to sleep in and also go to school please don't just picture the ugly side of Haiti.
    very dissapointed!!!!!!!!!!

    July 13, 2009 at 11:23 pm |
  18. Sach

    As a Haitian-American, I must say that this report speaks of a big problem in Haiti, the lack of child labor laws. I was watching the report on 360, and found it a bit disturbing that as Anderson was referring to the slave trade in Ghana, that he would try to make a connection with the problem in Haiti. These kids aren't being kidnapped and shackled. Yes they are being mistreated like many illegal immigrants in the U.S, like many Haitians who are really being held like slaves on surgar cane plantations in the Dominican Republic, yet this child labor problem is what you want to refer to as slavery. I admit it is a real problem. But to call it slavery is to show a lack of understanding of what it really means to be a slave. "As it turns out, whips are sold openly in the market, with the express purpose of child whipping." This quote is misleading. In Haiti parents whip their kids regularly for stepping out of line. I don't condone it, but to imply that they're sold to beat the "restaveks" only is misleading. The issue is an issue of lack of education, lack of child labor laws, and poverty. It is not a conscious slave system like we had when Europeans kidnapped Africans and brought them to the Americas.

    July 13, 2009 at 11:15 pm |
  19. italia

    Thank you so much for bringing this to light. I had no idea that this was actually happening in our world, that children or anyone for that matter, should be subjected to a life of slavery is an utter atrocity. It truly breaks my heart to bear witness to it. I pray for all of the children who are experiencing such despair and for all who dedicate their lives to eradicating it.
    Thank you again so much for giving it the attention that it deserves.

    July 13, 2009 at 11:14 pm |
  20. Taunya

    This is just a heart wrenching story that I'm glad you brought to light – Thank You Sanjay!

    Taunya – Hershey, PA

    July 13, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  21. Meredith

    I enjoyed your story, however, it should be noted that there are an estimated 50,000 slaves in the United States today. Whether it is in the form of labor or sex trafficking, slavery is very real and does exist. More than likely, every person has had some type of contact with a slave, and not even realized it.

    July 13, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  22. Sheila

    I understand bringing light to darkness. But so many times in America that is all we do. Born American to Haitian parents, there has always been this ongoing discussion about the relationship of Haiti to America since Regan’s administration. There is more to Haiti then presented in this five minute airing. On the other hand, what is America’s role, if any to the cause at hand? It seem like we have our hands full with the "war". Let’s not get involved more in situations we will not help. It gives hope to Haitian in America that change by Americans will change Haiti, and that not true at all. I am speaking as person of Haitian heritage, Christian, and an individual who just mission work in Haiti. Let not just talk about sadness I hearts towards modern day slavery. And this issue is not limited to Haiti at all. Lets give a voice to all that is voiceless.

    Peace

    July 13, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  23. clotilda

    Thank you for bringing attention to this issue.

    It's incredible that something like this could happen in our backyard. While we spend millions of dollars in other countries so far away, we allow this to occur right before our eyes.

    July 13, 2009 at 11:11 pm |
  24. Marie M., Montréal, Qc, Canada

    Hi Sanjay

    I come from Haiti, so I know about the restavek and it's very shameful and painfull to watch those kids live that way. I cannot understand why someone will do that to another person.

    The parents are aware of the way they are treated. Because the parents don't get any kind of financial compensation it's not illegall.

    Not having birth certificate is very common in Haiti and that has nothing to do with being a restavek more likely because the people are poor and uneducated and it costs money to have a birth certificate

    But I knew one woman who used to take care about them, she eventually adopted 2 of them and their lives changed for the best.

    July 13, 2009 at 11:07 pm |
  25. Carmelle

    Dr.,

    As a 25 yr-old Haitian woman who loves her contry dearly, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this reporting. Haiti needs the spotlight for awareness which will give hope for new beginnings. I am working with not-for-profit orgs to tackle the various needs of Haiti, but particularly adult literacy and technical training in health, education, tourism and more. President Obama is comitted to that cause and Pres. Clinton is their UN envoy, now it's Haitians' responsibility to rebuild the intellectual and physical infrastructure of this beautiful country.

    July 13, 2009 at 11:05 pm |
  26. Akilah Muhammad

    Sanjay,

    I would love to hear about all of the countries in which this same thing is practiced. I lived in Egypt for six years and it is customary that many country parents job out their children to brokers who in turn job children to families in the city. They are mistreated not just by the parents, but the children in the house hold. One little girl was kicked down a flight of stairs and she will forever walk with a limp. In Saudi Arabia, it is very well known that Indian migrant workers are maltreated as house keepers, etc. Ghanaian immigrants working as housekeepers in Egypt have had their passports taken from their employers and were thrown out of the home for minor reasons and as a result was arrested because they had no identification. I wish CNN would expose the global maltreatment that happens in every country based on discriminatory and racist beliefs and practices, including our own country with migrant workers. It is sickening that humanity can be so cruel and yet does not fear a day of reckoning for their deeds.

    July 13, 2009 at 11:04 pm |
  27. Boots (Los Angeles)

    Dr. Sanjay, I so feel for those children in Haiti – but what about the fact we don't recognize when this kind of cruelty and marginalization goes on right here in America – and what are people who survive such treatment supposed to do?

    July 13, 2009 at 11:04 pm |
  28. Linda from Arlington

    Caught the end of this piece on the Restaveks on your show which is great that you are covering this–thanks Sanjay Gupta. But it needs to be made clear throughout the coverage that this relates to Haiti which I did not see for the last moments. Cite the country in the heading throughout the piece so that someone coming in near the end will know the country of the story. Thanks for future "clear headings" in your coverage!

    July 13, 2009 at 11:03 pm |
  29. Pam Harvey

    Modern day slavery is a crime against humanity. What people can do about it is to learn more by googling "human trafficking and modern day slavery", telling others about this injustice, fair trade products and support legislation for protection, prosecution and restoration of victims.

    Pam Harvey-Not for Sale Campaign

    July 13, 2009 at 11:02 pm |
  30. carline olivier

    thank you for this report,
    how can we get in touch with the restavek foundation.

    July 13, 2009 at 11:00 pm |
  31. Dane Peters

    While we are so quick to condemn this system in Haiti, let's take a look at what their neighbors are doing to them as well. There is a documentary titled the "Price of Sugar" please review this document. Let's not make carrying water on your head something that is inhumane. it is not, I spent one month in ghana and from the well to do all the way down to the have nots carry water on their head, heavier loads, I as a westerner understood that it is their way of life but to single this out as oppression is highly offensive.

    July 13, 2009 at 10:58 pm |
  32. josta

    I found it a terrible story, just like slavery in Thailand, India, China, Brasil. That is why we have to fight against poverty. I hope we can also go and highlight all the other places were slavery is practised.

    July 13, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  33. adib

    sunjay,
    I was not able to read .I don't have heart to get to next line,It is like video is been playing, uhh I'm so sad. where is humanity, why people act or commit evil act ......i am so sad !

    July 13, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  34. May Joy

    Restaveks. Whatever it may be called, slavery takes on many forms and many ways, but one thing remains the same, the deprivation of experiencing the beauty of human life.

    I believe we should all speak out and do something against this. After all, we are all the same– humans inhabiting this earth

    July 13, 2009 at 9:43 pm |
  35. Joe G. (Illinois)

    “Slave” is a term most often than not used subjectedly. Millions of people in the US live “pay check by pay check” and most of them with thousands of dollars in credit card debt and 30 year mortgages.. Does that make them slaves? Obama wants the Mexicanos to keep coming into the US, live 3 dozen per apartment and work for peanuts.. Does that mean that the Mexicans in the US are Slaves? Is Obama’s Immigration Agenda supporting/promoting slavery? Many girls.. And many Millions of women in the US are into Porn, Prostitution, and lap dancing in Skin Bars.. Are they slaves? When America always thinks of itself as number 1, it’s easy to look down upon others and pose for the media and paparazzi..

    July 13, 2009 at 9:34 pm |
  36. Danielle

    Sanjay,

    Thank you for this report.
    I don't get how this can go on, and nobody else know about it. These children cannot live like this, they deserve to live a life and be loved, and a chance to get an education.
    I just hope this poor girl can get out of there, at least one life will be changed, then maybe something can be done about the others who are in her situation.
    God bless you for opening our eyes to this.

    July 13, 2009 at 9:26 pm |
  37. Max, NL

    It's hard to believe that people actually allowed this to be a 'normal' thing to do. How can you justify such behavior in any culture. I hope deep down the people who treat kids this way know its inherently wrong, otherwise they are monsters.

    July 13, 2009 at 9:19 pm |
  38. Mira

    Thanks for sharing this Sanjay.

    It's a real heartbreak to see a child ripped off his/her childhood. The world needs to be made aware of this, and do something about it.
    It is a shame that people are still capable of treating others as slaves, what more when it involves innocent children.

    I'm going to do my bit my twitting about the Restavek Foundation.

    July 13, 2009 at 8:54 pm |
  39. Laurie, Wheeling WV

    I'm sitting here, just staggered by your report Dr. Guptka. This is probably one of the most important blogs you've ever posted, and that I have ever read. Thank you for letting us know about the Restavek Foundation. For telling us about this situation. Can you pull any strings, and get this poor girl out of this situation? I think back to my life, abuse and homelessness, all of which would be like a visit Disneyland for these kids. The world–the Americas–need to interfere in Haiti–fast. I gotta go, I'm crying all over my keyboard.

    July 13, 2009 at 8:12 pm |
  40. Jacqueline Regis

    I can speak from personal experience that thousands of children like Deena in Haiti have no childhood and live in deplorable conditions reminiscent of slavery. The continued existence of such living conditions for children in Haiti breaks my heart. The perpetuation of the "restavek" practice is shameful and dehumanizes children as young as five years old. In a recent memoir, just released on June 30, 2009 from SterlingHouse Publisher, Inc, I chronicled my own experiences and those of childhood friends. My book entitled The Daugther of L'arsenal, http://www.regisbook.com, brings to light the plight of "restavek" children in Haiti. My hope is that the spotlight of the world on this form of modern day slavery will signal a new day and bring renewed hope for children in Haiti.

    Thank you for your report. Jacqueline Regis

    July 13, 2009 at 8:10 pm |
  41. Chuck

    Exactly Cindy – and as stated in the excellent article – these people doing this to her are RELATIVES – absolutely unreal and disgusting...

    July 13, 2009 at 8:09 pm |
  42. Alice D

    Sanjay,
    Thank you for reporting this story, I look forward to watching your full report this week. Thank you for keeping me informed and making me realize how lucky I am to be a woman in this country.

    I hope CNN continues to highlight the plight of these young children.
    –Alice

    July 13, 2009 at 7:58 pm |
  43. Deryk

    Sanjay,
    Thanks for sharing this story. I look forward to the time when all the world is free from this sort of thing. I think with social media advancing at its current pace we stand a much better chance of exposing and eradicating this sort of treatment of our fellow human beings.
    Deryk
    Georgia

    July 13, 2009 at 7:53 pm |
  44. Annie Kate

    Sanjay

    You must feel like you opened the door to hell and saw inside – what a horrible thing happening in this world today or at any time in history. I know that its just recent generations where children were allowed to be children even in our society – mostly before that they were considered another pair of hands to work the farm or the factory. Today, though, you kind of expect that all that is past until you see this. How anyone can mistreat a child is beyond me – how anyone can live with themselves when the mistreatment is part of their everyday ordinary life and nothing is thought of it or done about it is appalling.

    I'm glad you are doing this report. I will be sure to watch it – cringing I'm sure.....I'm just glad at least one person is trying to rescue as many of these children as possible.

    July 13, 2009 at 7:47 pm |
  45. Daphne Medina-Hicks

    What can I do to make this problem go away?

    July 13, 2009 at 7:44 pm |
  46. Chris

    Sanjay,

    Touching to the core. I hate that I can't go there and help her. I can never understand the human capacity for cruelty. We can show so much love and compassion and then like a switch that turns on we have the capacity for such amazing cruelty. Thanks for the note. Can't wait to see.

    Masi

    July 13, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  47. Andy Tran

    What cruelty, what kind of a world we are living in? My vision down the line to help fight poverty and help children escape from slavery and put people to justice for mentally and physically abuse these children.

    Great story Sanjay.. Looking forward to your next report..

    July 13, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  48. Sandra Robertson, GA

    Dr. Gupta, does anyone really know the depths of little Deena's pain? If she does get out from under the cruel world in which she lives, I hope she will feel loved by those who care for her. My heart breaks for her and so many others like Deena. I hope and pray to God these children find sanctuary in a loving world someday. God Bless the Restavek Foundation and those who dedicate their lives to giving hope to those who feel nothing but hopelessness. Thank you for your report Dr. Gupta.

    July 13, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  49. Vicky, Ottawa

    What a sobering story. It's hard to think about all the injustice in the world and not be completely overwhelmed. I'm wondering where Deena's parents are, and how she and others came to be in this situation. It's hard enough to understand how she could have an 'owner' and be required to perform such hard labor, but it's also incomprehensible to me that people who claim to be her family could view her as their own servant. How would Deena be able to attend school, if it were available to her?

    July 13, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  50. Cindy

    Sanjay,
    I totally agree with you. This poor girl is nothing more than a slave. There is no other word for it! To be beaten, hardly fed and made to do things with no pay by force is a slave to me.

    It is a shame that in this day and age we as a world sit back and turn a blind eye to this nonsense. We could eradicate this if we all wanted to. But we are all too busy in our own lives to think of others. We have a bad problem of if it's not happening to us or in front of our eyes then it doesn't matter. Boy..are we wrong!

    Looking forward to your report.

    Cindy..Ga.

    July 13, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
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