As we celebrate the Holiday season, I urge you to give the gift of Justice to the many young children being abused all over the world, and more specifically the youth of Haiti.

For years I have heard stories of Haitian-Americans abusing young children when they return to thee motherland. The end of the year is one of the busiest seasons for Haitians living outside of Haiti to go back home and visit loved ones. It is my belief that there is more good than evil in the world, but we all have an obligation to stop unjust acts wherever they are being committed.

Haiti is particularly susceptible to abuses given the sheer poverty many people live under. In Haiti, giving the sheer poverty that is a daily norm for many people, make them ripe.

It is not right for a grown man to solicit the body and mind of a young person. This is reprehensible and must be considered a human rights violation, a crime against humanity. A young girl, whose body is fully developed, might be tempted for older men, but she is simply a child. It is not right to take advantage of such an innocent soul just because they happen to be poor.

It is not only little girls who are being abused by those child-predators, but the silence of our society might make it hard to find out how many little boys are also in the same predicament. One thing for sure this injustice must stop.

It is time that people in our society stop living in the closet. The dogma that if it is not directly affecting you, there is no need to worry about it is too lame. To build a just and equitable society, we must confront those issues head-on. Too many of our children have been deprived of their youth, and are left to fend for themselves at too early an age. The family has a responsibility to protect their children, and also the government has a mandate to serve justice. Poverty should not lead to indignity.

I do not want to paint a picture as if it’s only people from the diaspora who are abusing our young children. There are Haitians living inside of the country who are also notorious for the exploitation of the youth. It has been well documented that some of the MINUSTAH troops or personnel have been involved in the raping and abuse of our young children. In this column, I am focusing the attention on the abuse suffered by our youth at the hands of their brothers and sisters; to me this is more than a breach of trust, but hypocrisy at the highest level.

Many of us would take the street upon hearing about a foreigner abusing one of our children, and yet we remain as silent as a sepulcher when the abused is internal. We need to be pro-active in all the sense of the word, and seek justice for those who are voiceless in our midst.

The Kreyol saying “Ti moun se la vi”, literally translated into “children are life” is of great relevance today. Is it possible to talk about developing a nation, and turn a blind-eye on the status of the youth? Is it fair to neglect the reality that child slavery is still taking place in the country, that human trafficking remains a national problem, that there exist a child sex-trade industry inside the country? The way we go about solving these issues will tell a lot about our sincerity to developing the country. I am certain that it can not be done without the full participation of the population.

The end of the year is one of the most joyous times for many children of my poor Haiti. Many of them will spend Christmas’ eve waiting for Santa “Tonton Nwel”, who will never come. Others will be on the street looking for their next day’s meal. There will be a ton of predators on the streets looking to take advantage of any child at any cost, and we must be wary of them.

Lately, kidnapping by bandits have been the main talk about Haiti in most of the media. The plight of the children has been forgotten. If one takes a walk around Champ-de-Mars at night, you would be amazed to see children as young as thirteen years old selling their body in order to feed themselves. Sometimes their own parents encourage them to be involved in such demeaning acts. As a society, we must break our silence and expect better for our children.

If you are visiting Haiti for the Holidays, please refrain from doing anything that you would not do in your permanent resident country. Haiti might be a lawless country, but when you travel and live oversea you become accustomed to a different standard of living, instead of taking advantage of a young child misery, please try to find within you the decency to say no to injustice, and give the gift of justice to those children. The holiday seasons is a time of giving and sharing love, let’s refrain from abusing the children.

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