Stop Reported Kidnapping, Rape, and Enslavement of Migrant Farm Workers

Target: U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh

Goal: Overhaul department accused of overseeing systemic abuses of migrant farm workers.

One of the largest and longest-running forced labor human trafficking operations in modern history has reportedly been uncovered in Georgia. An investigation known as Operation Blooming Onion yielded findings that allege guest farm workers employed in the state via visas were subjected to wide-scale crimes, including extortion, kidnapping, and rape. Many of these individuals were reportedly further subject to intimidation, the withholding of their identification, little or no pay, and confinement in extremely unsanitary and unsafe conditions. Some workers have even apparently died from heatstroke as a result of these inhumane environments.

Worse yet, members of the state’s own Department of Labor are accused of enabling and covering up these reported crimes. At least one individual indicted in the massive sting operation once worked as an inspector for the department, overseeing housing conditions for guest farm workers. Another person, who serves as a supposed advocate for farm workers, has several family members indicted in the investigation. Despite his clear conflicts of interest at best and potential culpability at worst, he remains on the job today. As it stands now, two dozen people are facing charges in relation to these years-long alleged practices prosecutors have called “modern-day slavery.”

While the federal department has final oversight, the Georgia Department of Labor was granted a lot of authority in ensuring enforcement: an authority it ultimately seemingly abused. Sign the petition below to demand this agency that abandoned its duty of protection and care be held to account.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Walsh,

Over 200 guest farm workers from Mexico and Central America were allegedly subjected to kidnappings, assaults, threats of assault with a deadly weapon, and much more. Operation Blooming Onion further uncovered that workers were reportedly forced to pay their employers while they received minimal pay and horrendous working and living conditions in return. But arguably the most unforgiveable part of these multi-pronged alleged human rights abuses is the seeming fact that they were allowed to fester and grow under the state of Georgia’s not-so-watchful eye.

Even with the benefit of the doubt, this agency violated its responsibilities to hire impartial, effective employees who could carry out its mission of protecting the state’s workers. The man who was hired as the advocate for farm workers even has close associates indicted in the investigation. This administration’s Department of Labor has pledged to implement policies that will improve the lives and broaden the liberties of guest farm workers.

Please deliver at least in part on this pledge by cleaning up the Georgia Department of Labor, fixing deficiencies in its operations, and supporting criminal referrals for any employee who willfully and knowingly violated the rights of desperate people.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: USDA


13 Comments

  1. Evan Jane Kriss says:

    This is a disgrace and must be investigated and stopped immediately!

  2. THAT’S WHAT JOE BIDEN BROUGHT THEM HERE FOR, THEY EXPLOIT THEM!

  3. Eva, I wouldn’t politicize this. Migrant workers have been treated this way for ages. The fact that it is still happening is terrible! These people do backbreaking work for long days, inadequate pay and poor living conditions. They put food on our tables and are not appreciated. It’s time to change things.

  4. Naila M Johnston says:

    Gilda, get a life, lady!! Relax!!

  5. STOP THIS CRUEL TORTURE TO WOMEN IMMEDIATELY!!!!

  6. Migrant workers are here legally. They have been coming to do the work no one here will do for decades. They are not illegal. We need them and they need us.

  7. Lina petrulias says:

    I strongly agree with this message.

  8. William Foreman says:

    Ukraine never give up.
    Never give in.
    Fight !!!!!#

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