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Ensure Dignity and Respect for Farm Worker Women

Photo courtesy of Coalition of Immokalee Workers

A Message From the Coalition of Immokalee Workers:ciw2

Earlier this year, the Fair Food Program won the support of Catapult, a pioneering crowdfunding platform that works with groups around the globe to advance the rights of women and girls.  We have the great pleasure of announcing the launch of the Catapult online campaign, “Ensure dignity and respect for farmworkers” — an effort to raise $25,000 in 150 days to help pay for a new auditor for the Fair Food Standards Council (FFSC), the Fair Food Program’s indispensable third-party monitoring body.  Now you can help support the FFSC’s crucial, day-to-day human rights work in the fields by checking out the online fundraising campaign here.

Why we care: Female farmworkers face verbal abuse and sexual violence from supervisors and coworkers. A 2010 study among farmworker women found that 80% had experienced sexual harassment at work.

How we’re solving this: By hiring an additional Investigator/Monitor for the Fair Food Standards Council, the organization that uncovers abuses and enforces the Fair Food Program standards at participating farms.

Under the Fair Food Program, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers conducts worker-to-worker education to inform all workers about their rights. The Fair Food Standards Council, then, is responsible for auditing farms, conducting onsite interviews with workers and supervisors, and operating a 24-hour, toll-free complaint hotline.

The Fair Food Program includes an enforceable zero tolerance policy for sexual violence, and the wall-to-wall monitoring program allows for abuses to be identified and promptly addressed.  An additional Investigator/Monitor for the Fair Food Standards Council will meet the rising need for expanding the Program to new farms, new crops, and new states.

“When we arrive home at the end of the day, we can hug our children happily, knowing that we didn’t have to sell our dignity in the fields.” – Lupe G.

Female farmworkers face a constant barrage of verbal abuse and sexual violence from supervisors and co-workers. Sexual harassment experienced by farmworkers in the US is so common that some farmworker women see abuse as an unavoidable condition of agricultural work.

With the support of the 12 multi-billion dollar retail food corporations that have signed Fair Food agreements with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers – a commitment to only purchase from growers in good standing with the Program – women working in the Florida’s tomato fields have new hope and a new weapon in the fight against harassment.

The Fair Food Program will soon expand beyond the Florida tomato industry. It is imperative that there are sufficient resources to enable the parallel growth of the rigorous monitoring efforts at the heart of our program.

With your support, the Fair Food Program will continue to uncover these abuses and work towards prevention.

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