Think slavery is gone from the United States?
Wrong
Though the general public’s idea of slavery is gone, practices of low wages, poor conditions and the non-existence of human rights are still present on the farms of the US. And we’re paying for it to continue!

Sounds harsh, but the reality is this: There are people who are working on farms who are being very underpaid, treated with little to no rights, abuses, and injustice.

Allow me to further explain:
Farmers who work on tomato farms in Southern Florida.
The pickers are required to pick tomatoes that will fill a basket to weight around 33lbs. As such, they will receive 50cents for each basket they bring back. So by the end of the day, most people will walk away making a grand total of $5.00.
Yeah…that’s equivalence to a grande size Frappachino at Starbucks!
So how is this a form of modern day slavery?
Besides being very underpaid, there are no breaks, they’re required to work rain, shine and perhaps even after pesticides are sprayed! And there have been several cases in which women have been abused while working at these farms!

Wanna know the crazy fact?
If you went to Publix to buy the equivalent amount of tomatoes (around 33lbs) you would be charge for around $1000!
What?!
(I guess $60.00…I was way off!)

Most of these people are of Latino, Mayan-Indian and Haitian decent. These are just honest people looking for a job with fair wages.

So where’s all the good in all of this?
Progress!
Awareness!

Since the start of the Fair Food campaign and the New Anti-slavery movement, workers on these tomato farms have seen a dramatic improvement in working conditions. People now have the right to say they will not work after pesticides have been sprayed and not fear losing their job. They have the right to take break, have a sick day and know that the next day they’ll still have a job. Basic workers rights and protections have been added as well. Women are also seeing more protection and help for situations.

Wages have also increased!
With each awareness campaign and more food industries and grocery stores that are becoming involved in the Fair Food Campaign, the workers wages have increased from 50cents to 85cent. That may not be much on paper, but in reality this is almost ‘double’ the normal wages they have been receiving.

So what can you do to help?
You can still eat tomatoes. The Fair Food Campaign have done amazing work without the use of strike or refusing to buy tomatoes and other produce. Instead, help raise awareness.
The more awareness, the more progress. Write letters, join awareness walks and groups.
Anything to help the public learn the truth.

Its the hope of many that fair wages, food, and working conditions will be provided for all and the disappearance of modern day slavery.

For more information check out these sites:

http://www.ciw-online.org/about.html

http://www.interfaithact.org

http://www.sfalliance.org

–Asage

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One response »

  1. Jillian :D says:

    Wow… I never knew that. I have heard of something like slavery being brought up in the U.S., but I didn’t think much of it. I know the minimum wage for the U.S. is $7.25 and these people are being paid way less than what they are supposed to be getting. This made me think a lot about what else goes on behind the scenes of farming.

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