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Latino Daily News

Wednesday November 17, 2010

STUDY:  Immigrant Women Working in Food Industry at Peril

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) researchers interviewed approximately 150 women who are either currently undocumented or have spent time in the U.S. as undocumented immigrants.  The women all have worked in the U.S. food industry and are from Mexico, Guatemala and other Latin-American countries.

On farms across America, they help produce billions of dollars worth of grocery store staples.  The study shows virtually all came to the United States to escape devastating poverty and provide a better life for their children.  For a complete copy of the study go to our HSN Library.

They tell of being cheated out of hard-earned wages by unscrupulous employers. They tell of working in dangerous conditions without adequate safety precautions. And they tell of enduring near-constant sexual harassment in the fields and factories.

The laws that protect these workers are grossly inadequate. More importantly, the workers’ ability to enforce what protections they do have is generally nonexistent.

Immigrant women face the additional danger of sexual assault and rape, crimes they often are afraid to report to police because it could lead to deportation.  The study also makes recommendations on how to change the plight of these women.