“This Human Rights Group Is A Model For How The U.S. Can End Slave Labor…”

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Huffington Post highlights CIW’s Presidential Medal, model for ending slave labor; Wendy’s campaign starts heating up for Valentine’s Day!

Today, we bring you two quick hits from the Fair Food front!  

First up, the Huffington Post just published an excellent piece on the CIW’s fight to end modern-day slavery, prompted by last month’s big White House news.  The article lays out the unprecedented results of the Fair Food Program, then goes on to break down the model itself, which offers a blueprint for the prevention of slavery, sexual violence, and other systemic abuses in low-wage industries.  Here below is a brief excerpt (though we strongly encourage you to check out the full piece, when you have a moment!):


This Human Rights Group Is A Model For How The U.S. Can End Slave Labor

A small group of workers in Florida began meeting weekly back in 1993 in a room borrowed from a local church to talk about how they could start improving their lives. About 22 years later, that small group has transformed into a powerful force for fairness in the labor market — and even the White House has noticed.

On Jan. 29 in Washington, D.C., Secretary of State John Kerry gave the 2015 Presidential Award for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) — an advocacy group focused on removing injustice from Florida’s tomato sector. The crop is a $1.3 billion industry in the U.S., and Florida is the leading producer among all states.

HuffPo_ImgCredit: Getty Images // Huffington Post

The White House noted the “excellent work” being done through CIW’s Fair Food Program, which connects farmers, farmworkers and retailers to ensure all workers are paid fairly and working conditions are humane.

According to The White House, the program’s unique approach to promote consumer awareness and leverage market power — working with such giants as Walmart, McDonald’s and Subway — has helped to fight labor trafficking within the Sunshine State’s tomato industry.

As Kerry pointed out in his remarks honoring the group, CIW helped uncover several farm slavery operations throughout the southeast U.S. The coalition played a vital role in seven of nine major investigations into labor trafficking throughout the past 15 years, helping many of the 1,200 Florida farmworkers who were freed through the investigations… Read More

In other news, our efforts to further reinforce the Fair Food Program with new buyer agreements continue as strong as ever!  This week, consumers across the country are turning their focus to Wendy’s, readying themselves for the exciting Valentine’s Day Weekend of Action.  Leading the way, as always, are the children and CIW Women’s Group from Immokalee.  

So, to get your creative juices flowing for all the big actions this weekend — and in case you were still crafting the right words for your own Wendy’s Valentine and needed some inspiration — we leave you with a short video from the local delegation to Wendy’s from this past Sunday here in Southwest Florida.  Enjoy!