Haitian-born actor Jimmy Jean-Louis, who plays ‘The Haitian’ on the popular NBC hit television series Heroes, is promoting a six-month campaign, highlighting slavery, trafficking and exploitation of children in Haiti called "I Too Am Haiti."
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"I was a kid myself, I grew up in Haiti. I understand the situation … it's a disaster," Jean-Louis said in an interview with VOA.
Jean-Louis, who is also a Goodwill Ambassador for Children for the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), says children are suffering in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
"It's hard because they're being used, abused and forced to work," the actor said.
The "I Too Am Haiti" campaign supports efforts to curb the exploitation of children, sending donations including food and support for training of police officers.
Jimmy Jean-Louis, known worldwide for his performances in films such as Tears of the Sun, Hollywood Homicide and Monster in Law, says he wanted to put his fame to good use.
"Hollywood is a power, if you get the media's attention you can get the world's attention," he said.
Jimmy Jean-Louis has also developed his own non-profit, Hollywood Unites for Haiti (HUFH). His goal is to provide children with sports and cultural activities to keep them off the streets.
HUFH focuses on sports and culture because it builds confidence, competence, and community while learning invaluable life skills.
"We have a lot of causes to fight for, but I think sports and cultural activities can help open these children's minds," Jean-Louis said.
Learn more about I Too Am Haiti and Hollywood United for Haiti.
Voice of America has granted permission to reprint “'Heroes' star condemns child exploitation in Haiti.”
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