Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Freedom Project: Common Dreams
Aired November 27, 2011 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUSTIN DILLON, CALL AND RESPONSE: In the shameful conditions of Haiti slums, as many as 300,000 children work as domestic servants. They are the restaveks. These restavek children are uneducated and unappreciated. And when they become adults, they're thrown out on the street, destined only to become shadows outside Haitian society.
Deprived of opportunities to create a better life for themselves, restaveks have little chance of achieving the common dreams we all share.
My name is Justin Dillon. I created and run the innovative anti- slavery campaign Call and Response. We work to end modern-day slavery through making films, TV, Web campaigns, anything you can think of.
Part of my strategy for combating human trafficking involves cultural leaders who can use their fame as a microphone for those whose voices are not heard.
Grammy-winning musician and actor Common understands this crucial role.
So good to meet you.
I went to Calgary, Canada, to meet Common on the set of the TV series "Hell on Wheels" where he plays a freed slave building the railroads in the 19th century American west.
My hope is that once Common sees Haiti and the conditions these restavek children are living in, he will take this message back to his millions of followers around the world who will then stand up and do something about it.
I'm going to Haiti pretty soon here, and we're going to basically be shining a light into the fact that slavery is still happening today. You know, today in our world, you know, 150 years after the emancipation proclamation, there's still 27 million people in slavery.
If you're open to it, I'd love -- I'd love for you to go with me because this is something I feel like you could bring a lot to. All of who you are.
COMMON, MUSICIAN AND ACTOR: I'm going with you. All you got to do is say the words and I'm there. I want to be right there with you and seeing what we can do.
COMMON: I stepped out of the airport, I was like, man, this is going to be a different experience. But you don't know how different it will be, and then when you step out, I felt that energy and seeing that, and then I saw young people coming up asking for money. They were saying they were hungry.
DILLON: Hey, man, how are you? How was your flight?
COMMON: How are you doing? Good. Good.
DILLON: You good?
COMMON: Good, yes, yes.
DILLON: Welcome to Haiti.
COMMON: Yes, man. Already as soon as I landed, I was, like, let go of any, like, thoughts that I got to, like, trying to look fresh and all that. I realized I felt a certain amount of chaos. I was like, man, Haiti has been suffering.
We in Port-au-Prince.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're in Port-au-Prince now. Yes.
DILLON: Common is a very unique artist and human being.
COMMON: This is a result of the quake?
Absolutely, it's become a tent city.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. Or it's become the tent city.
DILLON: I wanted him to be able to see the chaos and yet find a cosmos inside of that and express that. Artists can do that like no other people. Keep moving further and further into this absolute tragedy. We're coming up on the palace here. And you can see this whole -- this whole area up here used to be beautiful, verdant, open square.
You can see what's happened. What we're seeing behind us is -- you know, this is a symbol for Haiti, for its government. The president was literally homeless and officeless on the day of the earthquake. Immediately the entire city and the entire country was in chaos.
This tent city is built around this statue. So I want to -- I want to introduce you to the city's hero and really the country's hero, Toussaint L'Ouverture, this is the guy that led the rebellion for the slaves in the late 1700s. So he gave them -- he gave them the idea to move forward. When you think about it, man, that was the hope.
COMMON: When I look at the statue and I see the people hopefully some soaking in from what Toussaint had done, it's tough, man, because, you know, we don't do it as people. We go through these cycles like we're -- you know, like you do have the statue and you have a time where, you know, freedom was fought for, and they got what they needed, that the slave revolt created a better condition for people, and there you get a better country for a while. I can see it with my eyes. Haiti going through a transition and a -- and a tough period, but there's light at the end of the tunnel, you know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this camp, we have 2,800. So little girl, 12, 13, they have to sell their bodies to eat because there are no jobs.
You can see by your eyes just how people live. People walk barefoot, you know. And many people died of cholera in this camp already.
But it lacks options. So little girls, 12, 13, they have to sell their bodies. People go barefoot. Many people died of cholera in this camp already.
It's hard to live in Haiti. We are living just like animals in this camp. You know, when it's raining we have to go out, let it dry before we can come back to sleep. But it's not life. You can see almost two years after the earthquake.
You have to be Haitian to feel how Haitian life is. You know. But you know, we just pray. We don't know what's going on. We just pray.
COMMON: Yes, you pray?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we just pray.
COMMON: Yes, we all pray, too. You know, we're going to keep praying.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: Welcome to our island in the heart of the Caribbean. Haiti, the year-round springland. This city located at the bottom of Gonave (ph) Gulf surrounded by many hills is Port-au-Prince, our capital city since 1807.
Along the streets, the visitors will be caught by the attractive smile of a kind guide, happy to show him a new perspective.
At lunchtime the stylish restaurants carry on their menu the different dishes of our delicious kitchen. Some very special ones are prepared for the tourists.
Now let's cross the street and hence, the very beautiful German (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COMMON: It was like welcome to Haiti. I just felt like I was entering another world, another place that I've never experienced, and I really had to prepare my mind to be in it.
DILLON: So we're pulling into the National Cathedral here. This is one of the places that's absolute historical landmark for Haiti, almost completely destroyed.
When Common and I got out of the van at the cathedral, there was this man sitting there playing songs, and really what he was doing was, to me, he was praying with his guitar, and he was worshipping with his guitar.
COMMON: His music and just his soul, it impacted me. I was looking, and I didn't even know he was blind until someone told me. But I was looking, and -- for some reason as I was looking, I started thinking about all the ancestors and things that people have been through. It just was one of those things where I really felt strength in hearing his song.
I felt the pain in hearing his song. I felt like the soul of a man and the soul of a people being told in his song, welcome to Haiti.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Merci.
COMMON: Merci, merci. He just looked like a musician. As soon as he started playing you could tell.
He enjoys it. It's in his soul.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you're blind. He's blind. He said when you go back home, to never forget about him.
COMMON: No, no.
DILLON: No. Hard to do that.
COMMON: These are people that show true strength, man, and it reminds me that, man, as an African people, as people that come from Africa, we have a strength in us that's very strong and powerful. And I just felt connected to -- I felt connected to Haiti, and I feel connected to it because, you know, I see people that are like me and just people that I need. This touched our soul like nothing else.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oui.
COMMON: That experience, I was looking at that music come out of him like, man, this is -- this is something like I never ever experienced before.
Yes, thanks. Yes, thanks.
DILLON: That's great.
COMMON: Thanks, brother.
When I looked around and seen that we were being welcomed to, and I was in my own place just taking in what he was saying and my thoughts were going so many places. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is sort of a gathering place for a lot of people. And on Sundays, right next door, they hold a -- they hold a service, a few services right next door.
DILLON: The image stuck with me because people are still there at this very broken down site to worship and to pray and to seek god. And that amazes me.
COMMON: Most of the people here are like who have gathered, they just --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you can see right there, I mean, a woman's praying to the saints. They just come by and stop, they say a prayer and they move on.
COMMON: I think it shows a lot of faith in god like to be able to go through this and stay right here and know that god is going to see you through. It shows a lot of faith.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hope.
After the earthquake, after all the destruction and, you know, you've seen women walking around with their crosses and just praying and people that were -- you know, their limbs were off, and they were just, you know, still in a temple, in god's cathedral, and they still looked at that place as a place to gather and worship god. That showed me a faith and a strength that, you know, really is rarely seen.
DILLON: A lot of times when people think about modern-day slavery and human trafficking, they think of it in terms of evil and truly it is, but another way to look at it is really just -- it's an issue of greed.
This is an opportunity for people to make money without having to work that hard. So if you think of it in those terms, it applies to just about every type of human trafficking.
Today, in the world, in the modern world, there's 27 million people living under slavery.
COMMON: How many?
DILLON: Twenty-seven million. So we've got that in every different type, agriculture, you know, manufacturing, service industry, sex industry. But here in Haiti, it's looks -- it's one of those kind of hidden horrors. It's embedded inside of the culture. So, you know, years and years and years ago, it was OK if you were a family living in the rural villages and you wanted your child to have access to the world, and more specifically access to an education, you sent them into the cities to live with someone, and that system was referred -- was called restavek, which in Creole means live with. So your child would go live with sometimes a family member but a lot of times just a friend of a friend of a friend.
DILLON: An acquaintance. They'd live in the home, they do help out with the house chores and they go to school. And now -- that was a fair exchange.
DILLON: Restavek. Today, as poverty increased in Haiti, those opportunities for children to go to school became less and less, but the system didn't go away.
DILLON: So people are still sending their children to Port-au-Prince and some of the other cities to go to school and have an opportunity. The truth is, the kids are just operating as house slaves.
COMMON: Do most of the kids want their education like --
DILLON: Every kid. COMMON: Man, kids want education here far than where we're from.
DILLON: You know, there's a hunger for education here.
COMMON: So most of the -- most of the kids under this slavery system, they don't get educated at all?
DILLON: Well, no, but we're going to meet people who are trying to fix that. We want to be able to address that and address it gently.
DILLON: And nobly and humanly without any type of --
COMMON: Yes. Yes.
DILLON: You know our lens is very level.
DILLON: You know.
COMMON: No judgment.
DILLON: No judgment, just get in, talk, engage.
COMMON: Once they get educated and get enough information, once they get out of that situation, they inevitably are going to go back to help people who have been in that situation. You know what I mean? So I think that will be really -- that will be strong. We can do whatever we can do to start getting them focused on education and try to get some education issues into here. I would love that.
FABIOLA DESMONT, RESTAVEK FREEDOM FOUNDATION: Hi.
DILLON: Good to see you.
DESMONT: Good to see you. How are you guys?
DILLON: Good. I want to introduce you to common.
COMMON: How you doing?
COMMON: Nice to meet you.
DESMONT: Nice to meet you. Welcome to Haiti.
COMMON: Hi. Thank you. Thank you. How are you doing?
DILLON: This is Fabiola Desmont with the Restavek Freedom Foundation. So -- born here, Brooklyn --
DESMONT: Born in Haiti, raised in Brooklyn, New York.
DILLON: Can you tell Common just for a second just why you're back here in Haiti?
DESMONT: Yes. It's a bit of an emotional story. As I'd mentioned, I was born in Haiti. Left when I was about 7 years old with my family.
I wanted to come here and work on the issues that were important to me which was to work with young people, to work with children.
DESMONT: And I came across this issue, and I said I needed to be here. I needed to make this commitment. So I left my job, I left my home and my family. And I made a commitment to be here and work on this issue because it's not a Haitian issue. It's a human issue.
DESMONT: So I'm going to introduce you to one of the girls that lives in this area. Her name is Shimose. She's 12 years old. She lives --
COMMON: When I meet a person like Fabiola, first thing I thought was like this woman is putting in work, you know, just as a human being to do this every day to go into places and try to help people, help children.
DESMONT: She has to stay in the house all day to keep the house neat, do the cooking, cleaning, carrying water. And she also has like other small things that she sells and she has -- she's responsible for keeping an eye on that and making sure it sells. This little child has never been to school. She's 12 years old.
COMMON: Man, that's a high level of energy that you give to the world helping someone every day.
COMMON: Nice to meet you. How you doing? God bless you.
Fabiola to me is like a forensic activist. Like she is able to look at the larger abject poverty and be able to be look specifically at what her target is, which is children living in restavek conditions.
DESMONT: You know, her back, you can just see her. And she has to carry, like many restavek children gallons and gallons and buckets of water on their heads back and forth to get to the house so that the house that she lives in can have water to use for daily living.
DILLON: Fabiola is one of those people who can go understand all of the conditions around these children but be able to focus specifically on the exploitation that restavek children are dealing with.
DESMONT: She doesn't know her mom or her dad.
She's living -- I asked how long she's been living with this woman. She said since 2007.
COMMON: When is her birthday?
DESMONT: She doesn't know her birthday.
COMMON: Does she dream of doing anything, being anything? What's her dream?
DESMONT: Oui? She never has dreams. She says -- which means I don't have those kind of dreams.
The hard thing about this issue is that it carries these children on until adulthood. And you can see how timid they continue to be in their lives. Often when you speak to them, their heads are down. They don't make eye contact. Most of all, they're very inferior, and that carries them through into adulthood.
So we have a nation where the children who become adults have very little skills, they're illiterate, and they don't have social skills. They're not integrated into Haitian culture.
DILLON: Haitian law dictates that children should be allowed to go to school so that when you're keeping children out of school and forcing them to be at home and work especially if they're not your children, that becomes a form of child slavery.
There are over 200,000 if not 300,000 kids living in Restavek situations which have high, high probabilities of slave-like or genuine exploitation.
DESMONT: This is an area in Carrefour Feuille that's called Tapi Wouj. We located 2,000 children living in restavek in the Carrefour Feuille area alone and Tapi which was one of them.
You can see there's a lot of children in this area, a lot of young people, a lot of kids with bottles getting water. There is no running water in the homes in Haiti, so water is a very important basic need, so that child could be going up two, three, four times a day fetching water, and it's not next door. She's going miles.
She goes at 12:00, she'll come back -- she gets back around 12:30. So it takes her about 30 minutes and it's steep and also coming back with now additional weight of the water gallons is harder for coming back.
COMMON: For a young girl.
DESMONT: For a young girl who's 12. And you can see how tired she is.
DILLON: Can you tell us where you get water?
DESMONT: It's a long way.
DILLON: When you're coursing through the maze of the marketplace and you're seeing all these things happen around you, you're realizing that it's as if you're finding a needle in a haystack. And everything about what you're doing is a challenge because you're looking at all of this need around you, and yet you're going for this one specific need.
DESMONT: When non-Haitians come to Haiti, they see kids in the street. They say oh, my god, this is poverty. But this is beyond poverty. It's not just that the people are poor and they can't send their children to school. This is a human rights issue that goes into everything else that Haiti has to deal with.
I'm glad you guys are coming to visit with one of the schools that we partner with. This is Christian Light Ministries.
Part of what our program does is help support their education and put them to school and do a lot of the psychosocial work so we wanted to meet some of these kids.
COMMON: How you doing? How you doing?
DESMONT: I'd like to introduce you guys to two of my friends here visiting the school today. This is Common.
COMMON: How you doing? Bonjour.
DESMONT: Could someone teach him how to sew?
COMMON: Could somebody teach me? DESMONT: OK. So (INAUDIBLE) would like to teach you how to knit.
COMMON: She's going to teach me? Thank you. She's going to teach Justin.
COMMON: Being at the school is like it brought a smile to my face because, you know, we have been seeing the children that have been going through what the restavek children have been going through.
When I see kids in uniforms learning, it just -- it moves me like especially knowing the struggle that these kids have come from. And I saw a joy in the fact that the kids -- the kids were feeling proud and the fact that they were learning.
DESMONT: Common is a very deep and spiritual cat. I think the lights for him started to go off because he was seeing the potential of light happening for these kids. You want to be able to see what a solution is. They don't come easy. And I think that what Restavek Foundation is doing is being innovative and honestly putting in a tremendous amount of work.
COMMON: I was really pleased to see what school was, and you know, we had fun playing ball.
Yes, good D. Good pass. Good pass.
School was helping to give them that outlet and make them feel like they can dream about doing something and being something.
Get that. That's it. They beat us.
I really wanted to win, but we didn't. So, you know, the kids beat us. But it was just fun to see them express themselves and be young men and young women who can have fun and smile.
DESMONT: The girls at the center, I mean, to see them from when they come in the door to a few months later, it just opens your heart.
COMMON: Can each girl tell me what they want to be, like what they want to do when they -- as they get older?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like computer --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Scientist.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Scientist and police woman.
DESMONT: They feel comfortable talking to adults. We have people coming in to visit sometimes that volunteer. They're very confident. You see their grace. Things that you didn't see before.
COMMON: When you're given a gift and you should be able to express that because that's part of who you are. And that's part of what you have to offer the world. That's the beat by rose and different type of things when it comes to y'all, you know we all got dreams, dreams that we have just take the path, it's like this, so she said she like math.
Each and every one of us has something, and our purpose is to fulfill that purpose that we're put on this earth here for.
I'm telling y'all the deal that's Chicago y'all can follow so when it come to this you got to believe everybody out there my name is Rasheed
COMMON: What's your name again?
COMMON: Fadna. Nice to meet you.
DESMONT: A restavek child is a child that lives with another adult, particularly to do labor. Their role is to help in the home.
So this is Fadna, one of the girls that we typically see in the market. We'd see her, we'd befriend her, say hello, how are you? What's your name and then she'll tell us where she lives. We're going to go in here which is her home.
She's 10 years old. She's doing work that's beyond her physical strength, that's beyond her capabilities, work that the adults should be doing, going a couple of times a day to fetch for water.
COMMON: So you use your own instinct and your observation to see if you think a child is in that situation.
DESMONT: Exactly. Again, it's just some of the signs. Sometimes if they have bad skin problems, scabies or whatever, scars on their bodies, their clothes. So these are the kind of things we look for.
As we were making the walk we went through these very narrow gangways, and it was, man, it was like, man, I started thinking, man, for a young person to have to go through this like this -- like just this tunnel way, it was like no telling what could happen.
DESMONT: And you can see how small of a place this space is.
DESMONT: Where we have to go to. Imagine her carrying a bucket of water on her head walking through these tight spaces.
COMMON: Going through that was just like, man, for some -- for a young person to have to do this every day and carry -- to be carrying whatever they're carrying and doing work back and forth, you just -- you never know what could happen, what's going to happen, what's going to come out from whatever corner. Now, in Haiti because of the structure and the life people do go out and fetch water, but you have a 10-year-old with a five-gallon bucket on her head doing this a couple of times a week. She's also not living with her biological grandmother. And that's where from what we learned a lot of the abuse comes from.
So this woman doesn't see this child as part of her family, as part of her, so it's easier to target or project a lot of the abuse on to this child because even though she's with her grandfather, she's not part of that family.
COMMON: OK. How you doing?
DILLON: Fabiola understands the culture and understands the dignity not just of the children, but of the families. And that is very, very important because she's able to work with the families and be able to slowly pull them out.
COMMON: First of all, I wanted to see like what type of human being I thought he was. You know, just like from my perception. What we were hoping to accomplish was to allow him -- to allow her to go to school and not have her working every day where she wasn't going to have an opportunity to receive an education. We wanted him to recognize that.
DESMONT: She's never been to school.
COMMON: Would he like for her to go to school?
DESMONT: He's saying he'd be happy since god gives all the power, he'd be happy if she can go to school.
COMMON: I say can we take her to school tomorrow? Can she go to school tomorrow?
DILLON: Well, you know, I've seen a lot of brokering around human trafficking. But this is one deal that was going down that was truly one I could get behind. We were seeing the brokering of a child's future. Literally her future and probably the future of that family and even another generation's is going down in this one moment in this little street in Haiti.
DESMONT: He said he would be fine with us coming to get her, take her to school tomorrow. She thinks that she will have knowledge or wisdom. That in the future can help her be well, help her life be well, be better.
DILLON: I think most of these children have just submitted themselves to their conditions, but you're starting to see in this child that the chance to go to school is just -- it was starting to open up for her. I was just beginning to see that.
DESMONT: Her family has agreed to let us come pick her up tomorrow morning at 7:00 to get her to school and register her. So she's excited.
She said yes. They're going to get her prepped. She said she didn't have any ribbons for the hair, so I'm going to pick her some up tomorrow so she can be pretty like all the other kids going to school with ribbon in her hair and getting registered.
COMMON: Man, that's what we -- that's what we want. That's what we're here for.
DESMONT: All right.
DESMONT: Good job.
COMMON: There you go.
DILLON: It's not just a smile but it's what the smile is saying. It looked like she was seeing her life differently for the first time.
When I tell people that I'm working on slavery issues, they go, oh, you must be going in and grabbing people and running out. You just -- you can't do that, and especially working in Haiti. You have to be very diplomatic. You have to understand the culture.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning, sweetie. How are you? Bonjour.
DESMONT: This is sherry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bonjour.
DESMONT: This is the bigger picture. This issue is intransient in all of Haiti's other issues.
And I can leave my name also and my number as a contact person.
When I have a moment like this morning, it makes me feel that there is hope. When a young girl can say, wow, when she walks into a school, that's fantastic.
DILLON: You can see it in her face. She's starting for the first time to start to think my life might actually get better.
DESMONT: It makes it worth it that I left New York. To do this it makes it worth it. To come here and to be part of this.
DILLON: The Haitian people that I met are extremely generous, extremely loving. They are very proud. And, yes, you can move an economy forward with slave labor, but I don't get that that's what Haiti wants. I don't think the future that Haiti wants to have for itself includes child slavery.
DESMONT: As I hear people talk about rebuilding Haiti and they want to build homes, well, who's going to work on those homes? They want to build hotels? Who's going to work on these hotels?
When you've got thousands of children who are illiterate, who can't read and write, don't have social skills or any kind of professional skills and they're growing up in this culture, who's going to -- who's going to do the work? Who's going to be part of this restructuring?
DILLON: The idea now is to take Common back to where he came from, the south side of Chicago, and we're going to allow him the opportunity to do what he does best and share it with the people.
COMMON: For the people. South side people at right now? Well, I care for those people like right now.
DILLON: Music has a way of entering people's hearts and minds without asking permission. Part of what I wanted Common to be able to do is to be able to embed himself in the experience and not just look at it, to be able to participate in what freedom looks like and what opportunity looks like.
Going forward, my hope is that this becomes part of who he is. And that this is something that he's able to express.
COMMON: This experience in Haiti and meeting the rest of the children has helped me just to realize that, man, there's people suffering in ways that I never even think about. I want people to see what's going on and say, man, I want to make change.
DILLON: You know, I caught up with you in Calgary while you were shooting your new TV show "Hell on Wheels." And one of the things we were talking about was how important freedom is for you as an artist, as a human being, but just in general.
Can you talk a little bit about why freedom matters to you?
COMMON: Yes. Well, I was shooting a TV show where I played -- it takes place in 1865. It's called "Hell on Wheels," and I was playing a freed slave. So I did a lot of research and study about what slavery -- what slavery had been and how it's affecting us now.
We went to Haiti last week. It was my first time going to Haiti, and I heard a lot about Haiti, and, of course, we knew more about Haiti because of the earthquake, but when we arrived, as soon as I got there, I felt I had to change my way of thinking because there was people there that just didn't have what we have.
DILLON: Fabiola that we hung out with quite a bit, can you tell me a little bit what she -- or tell the students a little bit about what she taught us and the places -- some of the places she took us?
COMMON: Yes, well, Fabiola was a beautiful woman, a strong woman who worked with the restavek children. Restavek children are children under a form of slavery, and she worked with them consistently, basically going out, reaching out for kids and trying to get them enrolled in school. And she just was explaining to us and teaching us what was going on in that -- in those conditions.
You know, we all have had to do work and chores and, you know, people be like man, you got to do work. You got to work at the crib. You got to come home and do work, but it was extreme work and they weren't allowed to go to school so she was really jut taking these children and talking to them and trying to talk to the people that they were working for, and saying, man, they can't be in this condition.
If you want to -- because if you want to build a country and get a better life for everybody, then education is where it starts at.
When it's the extreme of you being treated the way these children were being treated that's doing somebody else's chores and doing the work of an adult and not being allowed to be a child, that's when it becomes like -- it pulls at your heart and you're like, man, OK, I got to speak up about this and do something about it.
We grow up in the west with all these, you know, Oliver Twist, Cinderella stories. There are these amazing stories of someone being put in a condition that was not what they thought it would be. We all love Cinderella stories. We all believe in that. That's why it keeps playing. You know, this is a Cinderella story for over 300,000 kids that we can actually participate.
You know, you have the celebrities who will come in and it's like they're only here for a few days, and you're here for the long haul, all of you guys are. Is that something that you think helps or is it a burden on your work? What -- talk to me about just honestly, how does it feel?
DESMONT: It was hard having Common here because it -- we had to focus on the work in a different way. But once he leaves, we're back on the ground. But it was great to have him here and to have someone, especially someone in his position. He's an artist, and he's an African-American man.
And I think he may -- he may not have been a restavek but he knows. What helps is that we have people that feel passionate about this issue. And they're learning about this issue through our eyes but through the experience, working with them to see this with his eyes is what was amazing.
Now he can go back and talk about it with his friends, and they can become passionate about this issue.
My hope for Haiti is that we can heal from this, that as a nation, independence or freedom can mean something, not something 200 years ago, but mean something now. And that the soul of Haiti can be seen through the eyes of its children.
COMMON: If you've been inspired by anything you've seen and you would like to help out the restavek children of Haiti, go to Freedom Project at CNN.com/freedom. We need you. They need you now.