Food and Slavery

Yesterday I read the story of Lucy in a local newspaper. For 10 years Lucy lived locked in the basement of a house disturbingly close to my own. She was forced to do household chores for no pay and barely enough food to survive, and she was regularly beaten. Lucy’s story was only one of dozens of cases of human trafficking that were reported last year in my state alone, and there were potentially hundreds more that went unreported or that were not properly identified. Odds are that there are a dozen other Lucys in your community.

The White HNo More Slavesouse declared January National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, so take a few minutes today to educate yourself about the problem. Human Trafficking is prevalent in many sectors in our society including our food production system. Odds are good that at some point you’ve eaten a vegatable that was harvested by someone held captive in the U.S. and forced to work in the fields as a modern-day slave.

The Presbyterian Hunger Program works with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) who have helped federal investigators successfully prosecute six cases of slavery in the U.S. agricultural industry, freeing more than 1,000 slaves. You can get involved with the PC(USA) Campaign for Fair Food to help.

Making responsible purchases is one way to be sure that the food you eat doesn’t support human trafficking, yet another reason to buy from small-scale, local farmers that you can trust. Check out PHP’s Enough for Everyone program for other ways to consume responsibly.

Visit the Presbyterian Church's Human Trafficking website for more.