Response to "Vlad Sokhin’s Photos of Haiti’s Child Servants"
Mr. Sokhin has disgraced the honorable profession of photojournalism. His lies to the NYTimes Lens Blog about the source of his Restavek photos and his deceitful narrative that he gave to journalist Deborah Sontag to accompany the photographs is reprehensible. His slander of Mr. Lesli Zoe Petit-Phar is disgusting, self-serving, and probably in false pursuit of a Pulitzer..
As President of a 501c3 organization working in the slums of Cite Soleil, Port au Prince since the 2010 earthquake, I’ve known Zoe for over three years and he is a good man. With regard to the child in question, the Petit-Phars took her into their home four years ago when her orphanage closed. Yes, she eats at their family table. Yes, she sleeps in a rooms with beds and other furniture. Yes, she goes to the bathroom “outside,” in an enclosed facility with a shower, Western toilet and basin. Yes, she does light house work, as most Haitian children are expected to do, but the Petit-Phars hire a Haitian woman to cook, wash and clean. Granted she is not treated nearly as well as their own 5-year-old daughter, but the Petit-Phars are not Restavek slave owners.
The most concerning part of Mr. Sokhin’s disgraceful behavior is that his deception may deflect attention away from the real issue: 250,000 Haitian children living as Restaveks, physically and mentally abused, in a system of slavery where the “owners” pets are far better treated. SHAME ON YOU, Mr. Sorkin