Grammy Award-winning artist and actor COMMON (@common) has partnered with the CNN Freedom Project to make a journey of discovery deep into the dangerous slums of Haiti where 300,000 children are forced to work in conditions the United Nations calls a ‘form of modern-day slavery.’ COMMON DREAMS: A CNN Freedom Project Documentary will broadcast globally on CNN on Sunday, November 27, at 8 p.m. (ET).
Haiti is a nation with a dramatic beginning and a disturbing secret. The world’s first black republic was created by slaves who rebelled against their masters in order to create a better future for themselves and their descendants. But 200 years later, that promise of freedom still eludes many Haitian children, who are today living in a form of abuse and exploitation known as ‘restavek.’ A French word meaning ‘to stay with,’ restavek began with the intention to educate children from rural villages. Unfortunately, many restavek children today are forced to work long hours in other people’s homes, cooking, cleaning dishes, doing laundry and fetching water. Worse yet, many of these children are not even allowed to go to school.
COMMON travels to Haiti to see this hardened practice rooted deep within the culture. He learns of the premise on which the system began and comes to understand how a devastating earthquake and decades of despotic rule have eroded the restavek concept. COMMON meets the children, their ‘guardians’ and a team of dedicated people determined to change cultural perceptions and provide them with a better life. In the process, his team helps convince a family to give a little girl what she so desperately wants: the chance to go to school and dream of a better future.
Earlier this year, CNN announced it was marshaling its global resources to take on human trafficking with the launch of ‘The CNN Freedom Project: Ending Modern-Day Slavery.’ Through this multi-platform initiative, CNN’s reporting aims to expose the horrors of modern-day slavery, highlight the growing efforts to stop the trade and exploitation of human beings and amplify the voices of the victims.
The Freedom Project blog will be the online hub for special coverage of COMMON Dreams. Users will also be able to check for updates across social media on the Freedom Project Facebook page or @CNNFreedom.