Southern Poverty Law Center Study finds Immigrant Women Workers Face Daily Sexual Harassment, Rape and Wage Theft

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Findings in the SPLC report, “Injustice on Our Plates: Immigrant Women in the U.S. Food Industry,” intimately connect the food Americans eat to the abuse of women. The study documents the experiences of 150 immigrant women who came from Mexico and other Latin American countries to work in the food industry across the United States. There are four million undocumented women living in the U.S. These women came to this country in most cases to escape extreme poverty and to help their families.  But here they live on poverty wages and face violence, sexual harassment, wage theft, and unsafe working environments. Farm workers are routinely exposed to pesticides on the job, many suffer acute symptoms of exposure, and have given birth to deformed babies as a result.  Many women reported near constant sexual harassment and violence in the workplace. The women find it difficult to fight for safer working conditions, or to seek recourse for grievances because of threats from employers with being turned into the authorities for immigration status, or told they can just quit and will be easily replaced by other immigrant workers.  These women are providing essential work in our country and their exploitation is not only a human rights crisis, it undermines wages and working conditions for all workers.

 

Title: The Injustice on Our Plates

Author: J. Richard Cohen, President of SPLC

Source: Huffington Post.com November 24, 2010

URL: www.huffingtonpost.com/J-richard-cohen/the-injustice-on-our-plat_b_787665.html

 

Title: Why Women Who Pick and Process Your Food Face Daily Threats of Rape, Harassment and Wage Theft

Author: Jill Richardson

Source: Alternet.org January26, 2011

URL: http://www.alternet.org/story/149693

 

Title: Injustice on Our Plates: Immigrant Women in the U.S. Food Industry

Author: The Southern Poverty Law Center

Source: splcenter.org

URL: http://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/downloads/publication/Injustice_on_Our_Plates.pdf

 

Student Researcher: Amy Ortiz, Sonoma State University

 

Faculty Evaluator: Dr. Lena McQuade, Sonoma State University