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Modern Slavery In USA

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by X-PASTER, Mar 29, 2010.


    X-PASTER Moderator

    Mar 29, 2010
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    In textbooks across the country, students are still taught that slavery in the US ended with the adoption of the 13th Amendment in 1865

    But the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) knows better, and its Modern-Day Slavery Museum is traveling throughout Florida to drive that point home--that slavery persists in the agriculture fields of the state right up through this very day.

    The Village Voice recently described the significance of the museum this way: "Though it's unlikely to compete for crowds with Disneyworld, the Modern-Day Slavery Museum may be Florida's most important new attraction."

    The bulk of the museum is housed inside of a 24-foot box truck--a replica of the one used by the Navarrete family in Immokalee to hold twelve farmworkers captive from 2005 to 2007. The workers were beaten, chained and imprisoned inside of the truck, and forced to urinate and defecate in the corners. US Attorney Doug Molloy called the operation "slavery, plain and simple."

    Inside of the truck visitors learn about seven cases of farm labor servitude in Florida successfully prosecuted by the US Department of Justice over the past 15 years. Workers were held against their will through threats, drugs, beatings, shootings, and pistol-whippings. These cases meet the high standard of proof and definition of slavery under federal laws and resulted in the liberation of over 1000 farmworkers--CIW worked with federal and local authorities during the investigation and prosecution of six of the seven cases.

    Barry Eastabrook described his experience in the truck for The Atlantic: "Inside, the vehicle was stacked high with cardboard tomato cartons. The floor was chipped and scuffed. There was a plywood sorting table--which doubled as a 'bed' for the workers. But what stays with me was the heat. Outside, the day was chilly and overcast, but inside the truck, even with the cargo door all the way open, the temperature became borderline unbearable. The stale air was uncomfortable to breathe. Sweat soaked the back of my shirt. And I was in there for less than five minutes, not two and a half years."

    But it's not just the contemporary slavery examples one finds inside the box truck that educates the visitors. The museum is designed to look at the history of slavery and forced labor--the evolution of it--and the fact that there has never been a period in Florida agriculture when there wasn't some form of forced labor. The exhibit was vetted by historians, slavery experts, economists and other academics, including Nation editorial board member Eric Foner who said, "A century and a half after the Civil War, forms of slavery continue to exist in the world, including in the United States. This Mobile Museum brings to light this modern tragedy and should inspire us to take action against it."

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