Haitian anti-slavery activist Bill Nathan was taking a break from his work with abandoned and former slave children, when the earthquake hurtled him from the seventh-floor garden of the orphanage.
Ben Skinner, an anti-slavery activist and journalist, writes in Time:
Two minutes later, the quake smashed open the building, and the top three floors pitched northward, hurling Bill down nearly 80 feet onto a neighbor’s concrete roof, where he landed briefly, apparently on his back. Almost immediately, he tumbled onto a tin-roofed shack and then to the ground. A neighbor later said she saw Bill “flying like a bird.” In his last moments of consciousness, Bill saw the top three concrete floors of the orphanage, along with a massive wind charger, hurtling toward him. Instinctively, he rolled out of the way and grabbed a clothesline, pulling himself into a corner before the cement crashed exactly where he had fallen. His legs wouldn’t work, so he crawled for several feet over broken glass before passing out.
Skinner, who met Nathan several years ago while working on his award-winning account of modern-day slavery in Haiti and around the world, A Crime So Monstrous, immediately tried to reach his friend. Skinner and Nathan have a special bond, as Nathan, only 21 years old at the time of their meeting, saved the American journalist’s life when he contracted malaria in Haiti.
When Skinner found out what had happened, he set out for Haiti to save his friend. Check out his compelling account here.
Skinner has recently reported on the influx of sex slaves to South Africa in preparation for the arrival of tens of thousands of soccer fans who will doubtless be in the mood for a good time at this summer’s World Cup Games.
For more information on child slavery in Haiti, and Skinner’s work, watch Nightline’s special, How to Buy a Child in Ten Hours