NESRI Media Center

What Does Burger King Have to do With Modern Slavery in U.S. Agriculture?

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Publication Date: 
January 27, 2008
Author: 
Cathy Albisa

Cathy Albisa, NESRI Executive Director, wrote an article, "What Does Burger King Have to do with Modern Day Slavery in U.S. Agriculture?" that appears on the DMIBlog.

"Slavery and forced labor are universally condemned as amongst the most profound violations of human rights and dignity. Yet, modern day slavery is ongoing and systematic, including within the United States. In the last decade, there have been six federal government criminal prosecutions in Florida alone for forced labor and slavery of farmworkers resulting in up to 15 year prison terms and the freeing over 1000 workers. Farmworkers are amongst the poorest workers in the United States and have very few labor protections. The severe lack of protection for economic and social rights, in particular with regards to wages and work conditions enables the slavery crisis. As part of addressing this human rights crisis, both Yum!Brands Inc. and McDonalds have entered agreements with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to pay an additional penny per pound for tomatoes and pass it on to the workers, as well as monitor for labor abuses. In public releases, Yum!Brands stated they felt compelled to enter into the agreement because 'human rights are universal.'" Continue the article here.

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