an anti-trafficking initiative of Help One Now – is a refuge for orphaned children who have been rescued from traffickers, or are at a high risk of being trafficked. It is a place where these children will be cared for and restored to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
As the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 77% of its 10 million people living below the poverty line, Haiti struggles to take care of its most vulnerable population. In 2008, there was an estimated 440,000 true orphans (those without both parents) in the country of Haiti. After the devastating earthquake of 2010, estimates exceeded 500,000. Today, it is difficult to determine the true number of orphans in Haiti. Many other factors contribute to at risk children in Haiti. Parents may not be able to take care of their children because of social, cultural, economic, and/or related health issues. These at risk children are vulnerable to sex trafficking and child labor both in Haiti and across the border in the Dominican Republic. In fact, the 2013 Trafficking In Persons Report states that there are an estimated 150,000 – 500,000 Haitian children living in domestic servitude, subject to forced labor, beatings, sexual assault and other abuses. There is a significant range of at risk children in Haiti. The children of Ferrier Village generally fall into two categories: those children vulnerable to serving as domestic servants in households, an arrangement commonly known as restavèk (literally, “living with”); and children trafficked for sex and labor across the border into the Dominican Republic. Since Ferrier is a border city, it is a prime location to rescue children in these vulnerable situations.
After 2+ years of researching, planning, networking, fundraising, building and waiting, Phase 1 of Ferrier Village was finally complete in March of 2013, consisting of 5 homes, a community center and kitchen, a water cistern system, and a security wall.
On May 10, 2013, we opened our doors to some of Haiti’s most vulnerable children. Five homes that once sat empty are now full of children and loving house moms. Lives that seemed impossible are now full of hope. We then continued to add on 5 more homes, as well as a pre-school for the local community. We are currently at full capacity with 45 children, 10 House Moms, 1 cook, and 2 Directors. And 17 children have been reunified with family over the past 3 years.
Pastor Jean Alix Paul and our Village Staff work in cooperation with local authorities, border officials, and the IBESR (Haitian Social Services) to rescue these kids and determine who is a good fit for the village. The children of Ferrier Village are all double orphaned—without a mother, without a father, and without any appropriate oversight or supervision (kids in this situation are extremely vulnerable to human trafficking). These kids have been rescued from lives of slavery and abandonment – living alone on the streets at 4 years old without a name; living in a home as a domestic servant at 5; enduring neglect and hunger. Some have been trapped in an abusive situation, without hope of reconciliation. Some were rescued at the border, thus interrupting the trafficking process. And sadly, a number were living in homes as slaves.
BUT NOW, for the first time in their lives, these kids are safe. They are loved and cared for by our Ferrier Village staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are well fed, clothed and counseled. They are part of a vibrant church community, and the ones who are old enough go to school. They have a safe home, a good bed, and the comfort of family. And our commitment to these kids is for the long haul—university, trade school, and employment. We will work to see these children become responsible and productive members of Haitian society. We are so proud of our leaders and our staff on the ground. THEY are doing this work, and they are accomplishing so much more than we could on our own.
Jean-Alix Paul is the president of Esprit de Verite, an organization that has started 10 churches, 4 schools, and 3 children’s homes, including Ferrier Village. He is also a talented business man. Jean Alix passionately believes (as do all of our leaders) that there are two things that are needed to break the cycle of poverty in Haiti: 1) people must know Jesus; and 2) children – and adults – must have a good, solid education. We are currently partnering with Jean Alix in: Kenscoff – building homes for families, along with various other clean water and community development projects Drouin – a vulnerable child sponsorship program allowing hundreds of kids to attend school and receive a good meal every day, while empowering local rice farmers Ferrier Village – a trafficking prevention initiative that is currently home to 26 of Haiti’s most vulnerable children. Featured Posts: What Does Orphan Prevention Look Like? Hope For 21 Rescued Orphans.
10.7 million (35.9% under the age of 15) (World Bank, 2015)
10,715 sq mi
Year of Independence:
430,000 (have lost one or both parents due to all causes)
Approximately 110,000 children (ages 0-17) orphaned due to AIDS. (UNAIDS, 2016)
Pop. Living In Poverty:
More than 6 million out of 10.4 million (59%) Haitians live under the national poverty line of US$ 2.42 per day and over 2.5 million (24%) live under the national extreme poverty line of US$1.23 per day.
Haiti’s adult literacy rate is 48.7%. Youth literacy rates are at 72.5%
Roughly 30% of children attending primary school will not make it to third grade; 60% will quit school before the sixth grade (Haiti Partners, 2016)
63 year life expectancy, Infant mortality: 55 per 1000 births, Estimated 130,000 people living with HIV. Only 55.2 percent of the population has access to an improved water source (The Water Project, 2016);
Estimated 150,000 – 500,000 children living in domestic servitude, or Restavek (subject to forced labor, beatings, sexual assault and other abuses)