Child domestic workers

portrait photo of a young boy

Dieusibon Delice, Haiti © Alex Smailes/Colour magazine

Child domestic workers are extremely vulnerable to slavery. Young and separated from their families, they are easier to coerce and control. Some are victims of trafficking while others are
caught in bonded labour, working to pay off loans their parents have taken.

In most countries, the minimum age of employment is 15 years old. Yet child domestic workers are often younger with some starting work at the age of six. Many children are beaten by their employers, are forced to work with hazardous chemicals, or use dangerous equipment - such as a hot iron - without training or protection. Most are separated from their parents and many cannot go to school or make friends, which increases their isolation and vulnerability to being abused.

Case study - Dieusibon Delice

Below Dieusibon Delice, aged 14, from Haiti shares his experiences as a child domestic worker. You can read about the experiences of other domestic workers in the exhibition and on the Anti-Slavery International website|.

"When I first moved to Port-au-Prince, I was a restavek (child domestic servant). I cleaned dishes, the house, everything. My aunt would beat me whenever I didn't get water. I worked so hard that my body ached and I couldn't move, but she would beat me if I didn't do more work.

When I ran away from my aunt's house, I lived on the streets. I met another lady who told me she would send me to school if I came with her so I went. But when I got there I had to stay and work and clean again.

One day my aunt sent me to fetch water. I refused so she took a pot of boiling water and threw it at me and burned my face and slammed the hot cooking pot on my hand. I ran away back to Jacmel where my mother lives and put some stuff on to heal the burn. But she still couldn't look after me, so I went back to the streets.

I worked for taxi drivers. I would shout to tell people where the taxis were going and the driver would give me a little money. When I went to sleep I would find a place but people would come and piss on me. I think lots of Haitians are bad, but some of them are good."

Dieusibon Delice, aged 14, from Haiti