New York Times article by Deborah Sontag
View a remarkable series of photographs by Vlad Sokhin here: http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/20/haitis-child-servants/
It is not easy to photograph people who are invisible in their own society, to shine a light on them and at the same time reveal how unseen they are to those around them.
That is the strength of what Mr. Sokhin does, perhaps partly because he approached the subject with the outrage of a fresh eye. Born in Russia and educated in Lisbon, he now lives in Sydney, Australia, and had never set foot in the Americas, much less in Haiti, until last year.
He visited New York last fall to take part in the Eddie Adams Workshop for photojournalists and in a group exhibition. With a few free weeks between the two events, he said in a phone interview from Australia, “I thought I’d just go to Haiti and see what’s there.”
While preparing for his trip, Mr. Sokhin, who is drawn to post-disaster and post-conflict societies, happened upon the memoir of a former child servant, Jean-Robert Cadet, who is Haiti’s best-known restavek “abolitionist.” Mr. Sokhin was struck by his story. He had never heard of the restavek phenomenon, he said, and to discover that, in the 21st century, a nation born of a slave revolt was “using its own children as slaves was ridiculous to me.’’
International advocates for children estimate that there are 250,000 restaveks in Haiti — children working as unpaid domestic servants after their parents, who cannot afford to raise them, give them away.