The Florida Modern-Day Slavery Museum consists of a cargo truck outfitted as a replica of the trucks involved in a recent slavery operation (U.S. v. Navarrete, 2008), accompanied by displays on the history and evolution of slavery in Florida. The museum toured the state intensively for six weeks in the lead-up to the 2010 Farmworker Freedom March.

The museum's central focus is on the phenomenon of modern-day slavery – its roots, the reasons it persists, and its solutions. The exhibits were developed in consultation with workers who have escaped from forced labor operations as well as leading academic authorities on slavery and labor history in Florida.

Click here to download the museum's accompanying booklet.


Tour Updates
Museum Press Coverage

Click here to visit the Museum News Page for all the updates from the road!

Source: Tallahassee Democrat



Photo Galleries:

Organizational Endorsers:

An impressive line-up of ten leading human rights and anti-slavery organizations have signed-on as endorsers of the soon-to-be-launched Modern-Day Slavery Museum. From left to right, above: (top row) Amnesty International USA, Anti-Slavery International, Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative, Free the Slaves; (second row) Freedom Network USA, Florida State University Center for the Advancement of Human Rights, Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (FIAC), Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships, and National Economic and Social Rights Initiative.

Support for the Museum:

"The Florida Modern Slavery museum is an invaluable enterprise for educating the citizens of Florida and the nation on the continuing absence of economic justice for low income workers, especially agricultural workers. For too long, political representatives and ordinary citizens have ignored the recurring instances of enslavement in contemporary Florida. Indeed, for too long, there has been insufficient light shining in on the low pay and indecent working conditions of agricultural workers in this state. The mobile Florida Modern Slavery museum is impressive and imaginative approach to shedding new light on these old issues. There is much we can learn from this endeavor and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the enlightening organization responsible for this educational tour."

Dr. Patrick Mason
Professor of Economics, &
Director, African American Studies Program
Florida State University


"A century and a half after the Civil War, forms of slavery continue to exist in the world, including in the United States. This Mobile Museum brings to light this modern tragedy and should inspire us to take action against it."

Dr. Eric Foner
DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University
Author of many works on slavery and its aftermath in the US, including
"Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution,1863-1877"


"My colleagues and I at Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative support the continuing efforts of the Coalition of Imokalee Workers to draw attention to the abuse of farmworkers' human rights through the mobile museum on modern-day slavery in Florida. We wish you success in ending company practices that undermine human rights and dignity."

The Honorable Mary Robinson
Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative
former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights


"There is real slavery in the fields of Florida. This is not about lousy jobs, but violent control, vicious exploitation, and the potential for serious harm and even death. Even more heartbreaking is the fact that there has never been a day in the history of Florida agriculture without some amount of slavery tainting the food grown there. That food leaves the hands of slaves and ends up in the meals we eat with our families.

It is an ugly problem and we cannot solve problems we do not understand. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is one of the most effective anti-slavery groups on earth. Their new traveling museum helps all of us learn what we need to know in order to bring this crime to an end. This is a living museum that restores the right to life. This is not a dry and academic collection of dusty artifacts (and as a Professor I know about dry and dusty!). Bring the traveling museum to your town, church, library, or convention. Then take your children and friends and family. It is so much more than learning, it is our chance to be part of ending slavery."

Dr. Kevin Bales
President, Free the Slaves
Emeritus Professor, Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation
University of Hull


"Slavery is like a resurgent disease in human affairs -- one which will never die unless a very real commitment is made to protect American freedoms. When we learn of continued slavery in the fields of Florida--and the deaths, rape, debt peonage, threats, and ruined lives that go with it -- we need to realize: this is a threat to our values and our way of life.

Florida agriculture has yielded more cases of modern slavery than any state in America. Why? Because the most powerful players in the supply chain from farm to table, such as Publix, Sysco, and Walmart, refuse to demand that their suppliers comply with American laws or acknowledge their role in helping the rest of us maintain a free society.

The Mobile Modern-day Slavery Museum is here to open our eyes to the age-old battle between freedom and darkness that is as alive today as in the distant past."

John Bowe,
author "Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy"


"Our government has referred to South Florida as 'ground zero for slavery in America.' In fighting the constant and daunting battle against slavery and human trafficking, the hardest part is getting the word out. And yet, without the awareness that this blight exists in our country today, there can be no victory, no success in eradicating it. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has taken their brilliant and time-proven campaign against modern-day slavery and worker abuse on the road, by creating a traveling museum. This is not a "museum" in the traditional sense. It will educate you, it will anger you, and it will provide you with the incentive to take action. Simply by viewing this exhibition, you will have accomplished the first basic step in joining the fight: awareness. The CIW's mobile "museum-on-wheels" is available to you, your family and friends; there can be no excuse for letting this opportunity go by. Sponsor it, see it, then see it again. It will tell you what you need to know about recognizing and eliminating slavery in our farms and fields, as well as in our cities and towns."

Ron Soodalter,
co-author, "The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today"


"Today, as in the past, many Florida field workers lack the basic civil rights, and human rights, that would guarantee them fair treatment and fair compensation for their strenuous labors. All Americans have a civic duty to learn about the hardships and struggles of the men, women, and children who grow our food, for these workers are our neighbors and fellow citizens. The shameful conditions exposed in this exhibit are part of a larger history of coerced labor in Florida. In order to overcome that history, we must confront it, and enlist the energies of employers, political leaders, retail food industry leaders, and consumers to eradicate once and for all the abusive labor practices documented here. I commend the Coalition of Immokalee Workers for launching this traveling exhibit, which illustrates in such a graphic and moving way the plight of many Florida farmworkers today."

Dr. Jacqueline Jones
Professor of History, University of Texas at Austin


"Slavery. In the 21st century. It is not something drawn up from the macabre mind of Stephen King or Dean Koontz. As this exhibit makes clear, this is not fiction. It is real. Painfully real. Four hundred years of slavery in Florida, and 145 of those coming after the Civil War, are the result of the continued violation and debasement of workers’ human rights. As document after document, photograph after photograph, court case after court case all attest, human bondage is wrong. There is no gray area. Yet, still it persists in the lush agricultural fields of Florida. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best when he averred that “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” But this exhibit and the tireless efforts of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers make clear that this battle is far from over."

Dr. Carol Anderson
Associate Professor of African American Studies, Emory University


"Florida has a long and sordid history of forced labor, including chattel slavery, the convict-lease, and debt peonage. Unfortunately, even now workers trapped in slavery still pick some of the crops that we eat every day. Modern-day slavery persists because it remains in the shadows. CIW is one of the leading grassroots antislavery organizations working today to expose the conditions of peonage in Florida agriculture. Their 'Mobile Modern-day Slavery Museum' will bring this practice to light and help secure justice for the state’s farmworkers. I urge you to pay attention to this important event when it comes to your community."

Dr. Alex Lichtenstein
Associate Professor of History, Florida International University


The Florida Modern Slavery Museum is an important and innovative traveling exhibit that reminds us that coerced labour and agricultural slavery are not just problematic parts of Florida’s history but are very real and disturbing contemporary issues. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Campaigns and many other efforts to ensure fair wages and working conditions for farm workers deserve our attention and support.

Dr. Vivien Miller
Associate Professor of American History, University of Nottingham


There are 27 million slaves in the world today, according to the Anti-Slavery Society, and this eye-opening exhibit makes it patently clear that some of them are harvesting the crops we eat today. The Immokalee Coalition reveals the horrific conditions experienced by afew and the terrible conditions endured by the many. As the Nation put it, “the norm is a disaster, and the extreme is slavery.” Anyone interested in the Sunshine State’s real history should see this rolling museum.

Dr. Cindy Hahamovitch
Professor of History, College of William & Mary
Author of "The Fruits of Their Labor: Atlantic Coast Farmworkers and
the Making of Migrant Poverty, 1870-1945"


Most folks like to falsely comfort themselves with the adage that Lincoln freed the slaves and bookshelf what should be a response of moral and political outrage at the horrific institution of slavery in America to a distant and forgotten past yet slavery exists with more vigor and ubiquity in the 21st Century and is the literal engine of global consumption. Please support the CIW museum and stop supporting companies that buy produce picked by slaves.

Dr. Arturo J. Aldama
Associate Chair and Associate Professor of Ethnic and Chicana/o--Latina/o Studies
CU, Boulder

Florida Modern Slavery Museum
Spring 2010 Tour Itinerary

Date City/Where Contact
Sunday, February 28

Cape Coral
Grace United Methodist Church and
St. Katharine Drexel

South Ft. Myers
St. Columbkille Parish

Monday, March 1 Ft. Myers
Quality of Life Center and
Broadway Palm Theater
Tuesday, March 2
Ft. Myers
Bishop Verot High School
Wednesday, March 3
First Christian Church and
North Naples United Methodist Church
Thursday, March 4
First Christian Church
Friday, March 5

Sanibel Island
Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ

Ft. Myers
downtown Art Walk

Saturday, March 6
Sanibel Island
Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ
Sunday, March 7
Winter Park
St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church
Monday, March 8
St. Leo
St. Leo University
Tuesday, March 9
Florida Gulf Coast University
Wednesday, March 10

Florida Gulf Coast University

Epiphany Cathedral

Thursday, March 11
New College
Friday, March 12
Church of the Palms Presbyterian Church
Saturday, March 13
Congregation for Humanistic Judaism
Sunday, March 14

St. Johns
San Juan del Rio Catholic Church

Harvest of Hope festival

Monday, March 15

SAIL High School and
Florida State University

Tuesday, March 16 Tallahassee
Florida State University
Wednesday, March 17

University of Florida and
First Assembly of God

Thursday, March 18

University of Florida and Mennonite meeting house

Friday, March 19
Saturday, March 20
Dandelion Communitea Café

Sunday, March 21
St. Petersburg
Unitarian Universalist Church of
St. Petersburg
Monday, March 22
Tuesday, March 23
St. Petersburg
USF-St. Petersburg
Wednesday, March 24
St. Augustine
First United Methodist Church
Thursday, March 25
University of North Florida
Friday, March 26

First Presbyterian Church

Saturday, March 27

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Clearwater

Sunday, March 28
First United Church of Tampa
Monday, March 29 Miami
Miami Dade College,
Wolfson campus
Tuesday, March 30
Florida Atlantic University
Wednesday, March 31

St. Thomas University

Thursday, April 1 Clearwater
St. Petersburg College
Friday, April 2
University of Central Florida
Saturday, April 3
Sunday, April 4

Unitarian Universalist Society

Monday, April 5

University of Tampa

Tuesday, April 6
University of Tampa
Wednesday, April 7

St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg College,
Allstate Center

Thursday, April 8 Tampa and Miami  
Friday, April 9

Winter Park
Rollins College

FL Institute for Community Studies
Multicultural Food and Art Show

Saturday, April 10
Sunday, April 11
Hyde Park United Methodist Church
Monday, April 12
St. Petersburg
Eckerd College
Tuesday, April 13
University of South Florida
Wednesday, April 14
University of South Florida-Polytechnic
Thursday, April 15
Winter Haven
Polk State College