One of the elements of the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake is the still uncounted numbers of orphaned children. We understand all too clearly the hardship these kids do now and will face as the nation begins trying to move ahead. One of the side-effects we may not have thought of is just how vulnerable these kids are…to the forces of crime and injury and disease…but also to those who would prey on their innocence. Child sexual slavery is an international scourge and epidemic of proportions we rarely see or can even conceive. Ricky Martin has worked tirelessly with his Ricky Martin Foundation as an advocate for children and breaking the cycle of child enslavement that can and does see children of three and four years being sold into sexual slavery, and raped by dozens and dozens of men. It is unfathomable and yet happens every day. And it is not only overseas, but here in our own nation as well. It should make you sick to your stomach…if not, you didn’t read that correctly.
Martin recently went to Haiti alongside the CEO of Habitat for Humanity, Jonathan Reckford, to survey the devastation. Martin, who also traveled to the Boxing Day Tsunami region as soon as possible, said of the scene in Haiti, “Every family is a family in need. I’m asking each of you to think about the future of the children. What they will need to survive after they are properly fed and have received appropriate medical care is a safe and decent home.”
Habitat for Humanity has been at work in Haiti for 26 years and has provided more than 2,000 families with housing solutions through a variety of initiatives including new home construction, progressive building, home repairs and improvements. Habitat and The Ricky Martin Foundation (RMF) have joined to form the RMF/HFH Haiti Recovery Fund. Both organizations are encouraging supporters to visit www.habitat.org/rmfhaiti to donate now for immediate and long-term efforts in Haiti.
Through his ongoing philanthropic endeavors in conjunction with the Ricky Martin Foundation, Martin continues to be one of Habitat for Humanity’s most visible supporters. Martin’s relationship with the organization began in early 2005, when the Ricky Martin Foundation partnered with Habitat for Humanity to build 224 homes in Thailand in response to the Asian tsunami in Dec. 2004. Martin personally assisted in the building of the homes and has said that handing over the keys to the homeowners was one of the most impactful moments of his life.