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slavery, tomato, protest, human trafficking

Slavery in Our Agriculture Fields: The Past

Background: Southern Florida was once known as "Ground Zero For Human Trafficking". This location supplies most of our countries tomatoes during the winter months. Injustices like actual slavery, sexual assault and, some studies suggest that up to 80% of farmworkers, experience violence in their work. 

Because of the vastness of our agriculture fields and who our farmworkers are, a group of farmerworkers realized that the best way to bring about change was to get everyone involved: farmworkers, farms, companies they sell to and consumers like you and I. 

Thus, the Fair Food Program was born. The Fair Food Program is a partnership that benefits everyone in the supply chain: workers, growers, retailers, and consumers. Because of the Program’s unique approach, farmworkers can confidently report issues without fear, Participating Growers can swiftly and competently address any problems and learn to prevent them, and Participating Buyers can count on a secure and ethical supply chain.

human, farmworkers

An International Benchmark in the fight against modern slavery.

UN Special Rapporteur on Human Trafficking

The Present

Since it began, The CIW's Fair Food Program has been praised by the UN, the Department of Labor, previous White House Administrations, the world's largest anti-human trafficking organization and more. Companies like McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC, Subway, Chipotle, Walmart, Trader Joe's and many more have signed up for the Fair Food Program to ensure their suppliers don't use slave labor.

Watch Food Chains

Food Chains is a 2014 American documentary film about agricultural labor in the United States directed by Sanjay Rawal. It was the Recipient of the 2015 James Beard Foundation Award for Special/Documentary.

wendys, slavery. human trafficking
publix, slavery, human trafficking
kroger, slavery, human trafficking

Wendy's is currently the only fast food chain, in the U.S. Top 5, that hasn't joined the Fair Food Program. Their response has been 

  • lying about joining the FFP (Fair Food Program).
  • As the FFP spread all across Florida, Wendys changed suppliers to Mexico where conditions are so much worse and even more unregulated.
  • As over 95% of Wendys shareholders voted yes on a resolution to join the Fair Food Program, Wendys is moving to go private so they no longer have to answer to shareholders. 

For more information on Wendys, go here.

Publix & Kroger refuse to join the Fair Food Program as well. 

You can search any one of these companies with the word "slavery" and come up with plenty of results. 

In fact, Kroger was named in a press release earlier this year, by the US Department of Labor, for using slaves. 

Are these all undocumented immigrants?

No. Most of the slavery cases the CIW found involved legal immigrants.

Why isn't law enforcement doing anything?

Our agriculture fields are too big for law enforcement to cover. Plus, it's happening to poor immigrants, which is two strikes against them already in this country sadly. 

Why don't they get other jobs instead?

That doesn't solve the problem at all. That would just leave an empty spot for someone else to fall victim. They, selflessly, want to change the system so that no one is treated inhumanely. 

I still don't care. They're not white.

Well, that's too bad. Even the people you hate don't deserve to be bought and sold. We are better than this. Let's end it.

The Solution

Contact these companies on social media/email/customer support phone numbers & ask them to join the Fair Food Program. This is 2023. We shouldn't have to beg companies or people to be against slavery or sexual assault. Follow the Coalition of Immokalee Workers on social media to keep up with calls to action and updates.

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