How to Buy a Child in 10 Hours

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"I do not think that it is because they do not love the child," says Charles of parents who send their kids into servitude. "They love the kids; they love them. But because they think that they cannot take care of them, they turn them to another person."

As a sign of how deeply entrenched this practice is, it turns out that the pastor's family has a girl living with them whom they took on to do domestic work. They have since legally adopted her and are putting her through school, as an example to the families who abuse child slaves.

"I believe that people who do that should be thrown into jail," says Charles. "But the government is not doing anything about it, so that is why the Haitians are doing it."

Now that we've learned that Ti Soeur is stuck between slavery and an abusive, unhappy home, we decide to try our luck with the Haitian government. We go to the Department of Social Services and meet with several senior officials. We show them videotape of Ti Soeur's scars.

"This is unacceptable," says one official. She promises to act as early as possible. We leave feeling confident that Ti Soeur's fate may soon change.

But within days, government officials stop returning our phone calls, and Ti Soeur's case takes some surprising turns.

A Wrenching Scene

We learn that Bellevue, Ti Soeur's mother, has done something brave and extraordinary: she has forced her abusive husband to go and retrieve Ti Soeur from slavery.

With the government seemingly missing in action, we hook up with a social services organization affiliated with the American-based group Beyond Borders.

They work with mother and daughter, reunited as a result of Bellevue's courageous insistence, to get Ti Soeur accepted into a clean, cheerful orphanage.

But it's a mixed blessing for the former child slave.

Her mother is being kicked out of her house, for the crime of having spoken out to her husband. Rather than take Ti Soeur with her into an uncertain, and potentially homeless future, she decided to leave her at the orphanage, where she's safe.

As they're forced to part again, it's a wrenching scene. Ti Soeur is sobbing. She throws herself on the ground, inconsolable.

As we leave her, Ti Soeur seems traumatized, confused and lonely. But she's also, finally, in a place where she'll be fed, educated, safe and free from slavery.

For Haiti's child slaves, this may be as close to a happy ending as you'll find.

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