Nearly a quarter of a million impoverished children – mostly young girls – are forced to work as unpaid domestic servants in major Haitian cities, according to a major survey of Haiti’s human rights, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) announced. Called restavèks, these very poor children are sent by their parents to live in other homes with the idea that they would have access to education and food. PADF’s ground-breaking study, which focused on key neighborhoods in five major cities, found that 16 percent of all children are restavèks. “Restavèks are prone to beatings, sexual assaults and other abuses by host families,” says Herve Rakoto Razafimbahiny, PADF’s Protecting Human Rights in Haiti Programme Director. “This major survey is a key tool in our efforts to eliminate this stain on dignity.” PADF conducted the largest field survey on human rights violations, with an emphasis on child trafficking, abuse and violence. Called "Lost Childhoods," it consists of nearly 1,500 door-to-door surveys in troubled urban neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haïtien, Gonaïves, Saint-Marc and Petit-Gôave.