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The Haitian Kreyol word restavèk refers to a category of children who work as unpaid domestic servants. The word itself comes from the French, rester avec, meaning “to stay with.” Typically, restavèk are children between the ages of 3 and 15 years, who have been sent from very poor families to live with less poor families in exchange for food, housing, and labor. There is usually hope that the child will also be sent to school. Estimates vary as to how many restavèk there are, ranging from 150,000 to 500,000. One of the primary drivers of the practice is poverty. The World Bank estimates that 59% of Haitians live below an income level of $2.41 per day; 24% live below the extreme poverty line of ...

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