Did Slavery Put Food on Your Table Today?
Slavery in Our Own Backyard
Many Americans think of slavery as a guilty relic from a far distant past, something that doesn't touch our daily lives in this modern age. Yet I know differently.
My first encounter with modern day slavery was when I participated in a national boycott of Yum Foods, the parent company of Taco Bell. The boycott came as a result of Yum only wanting to pay mere pennies per pound for tomatos picked by migrant workers in Florida. The workers lived in concentration camp style conditions, with armed guards, where they were forced to pay rent that exceeded the amount they were able to earn. Since they could never pay off the debt, they had no choice but to keep working. Meanwhile, Yum foods continued to make millions.
Even closer to home, here in Central New Jersey, I once helped a fellow activist free three men who had been held against their will on a horse farm here. The farm was in a remote location and the only transportation in or out was at the discretion of the farm owner in her vehicle. The men had been working without pay for nearly two months. Each week the farm owner promised she would settle up with them the following week. When they finally put their foot down, saying they would not work until she paid what they were owed, their food supply was cut off. The workers went five days without eating before they were able to make a phone call and get help.
Slavery's Global Footprint
Both the incidents I related happened here, in the US, but slavery is a global problem. In many cases, those bargain goods we love so much are made by forced labor, sometimes even by children, in the third world.
Slavery is a topic I am concerned about, so I was glad to see this article on CNN Money this past Thursday: New App Calculates Your Slavery Footprint. You can also visit theirwebsite to find out how slavery impacts your life through your daily purchases.Continued on the next page