Story

Haiti: Prostitution and Rape Increase after Quake

August 25, 2011|

haitiprostitution1.jpg

Jeanne, 17, has been working on a beading project at KOFAVIV. The Haitian grassroots organization founded by and for rape survivors, is paying women and girls $7 a day to make necklaces that will be sold in the U.S. Image by Andre Lambertson. Haiti, 2011.

haitiprostitution2.jpg

Madeleine, a 16-year-old prostitute, talks to a friend outside her tent near the Champ de Mars area in downtown Port-au-Prince. Image by Andre Lambertson. Haiti, 2011.

haitiprostitution3.jpg

KOFAVIV, a Haitian grassroots organization founded by and for rape survivors, offers training for girls. Here a small group learns to sew. Image by Andre Lambertson. Haiti, 2011.

haitiprostitution4.JPG

A beading project at the KOFAVIV office. Image by Andre Lambertson. Haiti, 2011.

haitiprostitution5.jpg

Madeleine, 16, who earns money as a prostitute, walks through a section of tents going home in the Champ de Mars section of Port-au-Prince. Image by Andre Lambertson. Haiti, 2011.

haitiprostitution6.jpg

Madeleine, a 16-year-old prostitute, sits in the small tent area she shares with her aunt. Image by Andre Lambertson. Haiti, 2011.

haitiprostitution8.jpg

A group of young prostitutes. After the January 2010 earthquake, many girls, some as young as 8, have been forced to have sex in order to survive. Image by Andre Lambertson. Haiti, 2011.

haitiprostitution9.jpg

A young prostitute alone on the street. After the January 2010 earthquake, many girls, some as young as 8, have been forced to have sex in order to survive. Image by Andre Lambertson. Haiti, 2011.

It is not as if teenage prostitution didn’t exist in Haiti before the January 2010 earthquake that left 1.5 million displaced, tens of thousands of them living in haphazardly-placed tents in scattered through the capital, Port-au-Prince. But in the months since, the number of girls, some as young as 8, who have been forced to have sex in order to survive has drastically increased. Not surprisingly, the number of rapes has also gone up.

The situation will likely get worse as in late May, shortly after President Michel Martelly took office, police destroyed about 200 makeshift tents, leaving their occupants without anywhere else to go. According to the International Organization of Migration, 25 percent of those in camps have been threatened with eviction.

Photojournalist Andre Lambertson documents the plight of some of these young women, including several who have been helped by a local rape survivors network.