Reactions to Presidential Medal nod to CIW history, power of Fair Food Program…

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From the mainstream media to the blogosphere to twitter, news of the CIW’s reception of the Presidential Medal for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking traveled far and wide last week, and we’ve collected some of the highlights for you here.

Let’s start with the Ft. Myers News-Press, the paper of record for the Fair Food movement.  The News-Press went straight to a source — former Chief Assistant US Attorney Doug Molloy — who has not only known the CIW’s work for the better part of two decades but was the prosecutor that helped bring several slavery rings to justice in collaboration with the CIW during his distinguished career.  Here are his thoughts on the award:

One who was on the front lines with them was Fort Myers attorney Doug Molloy, who prosecuted a number of high-profile slavery cases and was an internationally acclaimed anti-trafficking crusader until retiring as chief assistant U.S. attorney for Southwest Florida in 2013.

Their work is invaluable, Molloy said. “As the eyes and ears and conscience of the community, they helped liberate more slaves and helped develop more successful prosecutions than any other group of people I am aware of in all the work I have done in human trafficking,” he said… read more

Meanwhile, in the blogosphere, the CIW got special mention in a most unusual space for the Fair Food movement — on the White House blog itself!  In a post on the forum by Special Assistant to the President Amy Pope highlighting “the importance of working together across the private sector, advocacy community, and government to eliminate human trafficking in supply chains,” Ms. Pope wrote:

CIW has pioneered a worker-based social responsibility model, the Fair Food Program, to include workers in addressing exploitation and abuse and to eradicate modern slavery in Florida’s tomato fields. This unique and highly successful program leverages the market power of major corporate buyers, coupled with strong consumer awareness, worker training, and robust enforcement mechanisms to increase wages, end labor trafficking, and promote worker rights… read more

Finally, we turn to Twitter to give you a sense of the buzz generated by the news.  Here are a few of the very kind comments that came out in 140 characters or less: 

We want to close with a warm thanks to all of the close allies who have accompanied us for the twenty years leading up to this moment.  The medal first and foremost honors thousands of farmworkers — the victims of forced labor, the resolute witnesses, and the many other courageous men and women who have been fighting to eradicate abuse from an entire industry.  But it also goes out to the many, many people across the country (and the world) who have marched beside them for the past two decades.

With that, we invite you to stay tuned for more soon on the upcoming events in the ongoing Campaign for Fair Food!  There is still work to be done, because Florida tomatoes are just the beginning…