Published: Aug 14, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Aug 11, 2012 04:21 PM
The article “Triangle groups tackle human trafficking” (DN, Jul 17) addressed a pressing issue. Yet, it did not describe the industries that traffic workers, specifically farms.
Farmworkers, especially if they are undocumented, can be easily exploited and be made to work for little or no pay. Most farmworkers who pick our crops are Mexican, and are either undocumented or with special guest worker visas, although some are legal permanent residents.
They are employed instead of U.S. citizen workers partly because they are unaware of their rights and less likely to resist mistreatment for fear of losing their jobs. Even a worker with an H-2A visa can be “trafficked” if their employer takes away their passport, which gives the farmer an immoral form of leverage.
Farmworkers are an integral part of our food system, although their issues are not often talked about. Many work 12-hour days in the sweltering heat to feed America, often for below-poverty wages. Their issues should be in the spotlight more often.Atlee Webber The writer is an intern with Student Action with Farmworkers
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