Day 1: A Survivor’s Hope for Farmworkers

Our 10-day Fair Food Sustainer campaign starts today!

We asked a survivor from the Georgia case, his hands holding onions like the ones he harvested, about his vision for the future of farmwork. Here’s what he said. 

Just days before Thanksgiving last year, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a staggering 54-count indictment in Georgia – ”one of the country’s largest-ever human trafficking and visa fraud investigations,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The forced labor case swept up 24 crewleaders, farmers, and guest worker recruiters in just one day of arrests,  and alleged that nearly 72,000 workers had been victimized in a scheme that netted  $200M in illicit profits for the perpetrators.

The abuses documented in the indictment were deeply disturbing: Kidnapping. Rape. Forced labor at gunpoint. Death from heat stroke while working in the fields. 

Many Americans were shocked that this kind of abuse could still be happening, and sickened to imagine that the food on their own plates could have been harvested by one of the workers being held against their will. 

Help us create a future without slavery in our food system. Join the movement for Fair Food as a monthly sustainer today!

For the farmworker staff at CIW who have been leading our Anti-Slavery campaign since the early 1990’s, the stories were all-too familiar. Yet, because of our decades of work in the human rights field, we also know that farmworkers who have experienced this kind of exploitation themselves have more to offer than just their trauma experiences: they are often the people with the clearest vision of what working in the American agricultural industry could be, and they bring that vision to their efforts as leaders in the movement for Fair Food. 

The Fair Food Program was started by farmworkers nearly 30 years ago, and farmworkers continue to lead the fight today for a world where this vision is a reality. 

But they can’t get there without allies like you, and the market power you bring as end consumers in our country’s trillion-dollar food industry. 

Together, we have won impossible victories, and made unprecedented changes in fields that have been home to unimaginable abuse for far too long. 

For the next 10 days, we’ll be sharing impact stories from across the CIW and Fair Food Program as part of our annual sustainer drive. Your reliable monthly donations make it possible for us to respond quickly to urgent crises and unexpected opportunities to advance our mission to end slavery and exploitation in agriculture. 

It’s Day 1 of our 10-day Sustainer campaign. Sign up now to give just $10 a month!

P.S., Join the conversation on social media over at @fairfoodprogram on Twitter and Instagram!