Haitian girl, May 2011 (AP photo)
Rose Manette Sully, 14, in the tent she shares with a woman inside the JP/HRP camp operated by Sean Penn.
Rose Manette, seated next to the woman she lives with. When asked what she liked most about Port-au-Prince, Rose said, “school.” Even though it is her dream to attend school, the 14-year-old hasn’t gone to a day of classes in her life.
Jolet, Rose Manette’s ‘owner’ is also her cousin. Rose lives with Jolet’s friend but serves both women.
Rose Manette fetches water multiple times a day for her ‘masters’ on the other side of the massive camp where she lives.
Rose Manette carefully braids her hair in preparation to see her mother. Many unpaid child servants never see their mothers again once they’ve gone to live with another family.
Rose Manette gazes out the window at landscape she saw two months earlier, when she was brought to Port-au-Prince from her home in the countryside to work as a servant.
Rose Manette’s mother Sonia, nicknamed “rejected” by neighbors because of her extreme poverty, cooks rice with fish sauce at her sister’s house.
Rivers in Haiti carried cholera which killed more than 5,000 people.
Kristophane Similair, 5, is a ‘restavek,’ in the Delmas section of Port-au-Prince.
Rose Manette lives in Sean Penn’s JP/HRO camp, which was a posh golf course before the quake. Now more than 50,000 people live in tents on the hilly property beyond this gate.
James Levy, 12, works as unpaid servant for his aunt, pictured to the left. Even though he lives with his family technically, he is served less food this his biological cousins.
James Levy is one of the lucky ones. He visits his mother every day, for a half hour. His mother, Karen Gabrielle, 33, said she misses her son very much.
She also has a daughter who works as an unpaid child servant.
Karen said she misses her son very much. She also has a daughter who works as an unpaid child servant. She lives inside a former bakery which was badly damaged in the quake.
The bakery where Karen lives as seen from the street in Port-au-Prince.
Behind the two unpaid servant boys is a banner that reads, “Movement for the Protection of Children,” and a lucky boy wearing a school uniform. This pair of friends has never been to school.
Children in the Haitian countryside become vulnerable to servitude starting at at age 6. The girl in this photo is not a ‘slave’ but could become one.
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Reporters Karen Keller and Jennifer Weiss spent 12 days in Haiti, arriving the day after the presidential runoff election on March 20 to cover a child slavery (a.k.a. “restavek”) story. They spent five days documenting the life of Rose Manette and three other servant children in the JP/HRO camp operated by Sean Penn.
They decided on the issue after learning that underaged domestic servants worked in camps for people displaced by the earthquake. It seemed shocking to imagine that Haiti was a troubled enough place that even destitute families with almost nothing to give could take on servants. A local friend had told them that the ‘restavek’ represented the root of Haiti’s problems. That was enough to send them investigating.
All photos by Karen Keller