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The Haitian Revolution of 1804, the only successful slave revolt in human history, precipitated the end of slavery not only in Saint-Domingue, but in all French colonies. The groups most at risk include the poor, women, children, the homeless, and people migrating across the border with the Dominican Republic.However, several Haitian leaders following the revolution employed forced labor, believing a plantation-style economy was the only way for Haiti to succeed, and building fortifications to safeguard against attack by the French. The devastating earthquake in 2010 displaced many, rendering them homeless, isolated, and supremely vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers.
They speak to us of an immortal soul and of their eternal rewards and punishments, and yet they rob our belongings, seduce our women, violate our daughters." Las Casas commented that the Spaniards' punishment of a Taino man by cutting off his ear "marked the beginning of the spilling of blood, later to become a river of blood, first on this island and then in every corner of these Indies." Known as the "Pearl of the Antilles", the colony became the world's foremost producer of coffee and sugar.The chaos following the quake also distracted authorities and hindered efforts to stop trafficking. State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons placed the country in "Tier 2 Watchlist" in 2017.The government has taken steps to prevent and stop trafficking, ratifying human rights conventions and enacting laws to protect the vulnerable, but enforcement remains difficult. The natives living on the island that would come to be called Hispaniola welcomed Christopher Columbus and his crew when they landed on the island in October 1492.The French, like the Spanish, imported slaves from Africa.In 1681 there were 2,000 African slaves in the future Saint Domingue; by 1789 there were almost half a million.