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Why Food Insecurity Is a Global Farmworker Issue

A new United Nations report outlines how low wages, dangerous working conditions, and immigration laws undermine agricultural workers’ right to food.

The severity of working conditions for farmworkers around the world is so striking it can inspire disbelief.

Consider, for example, the fact that in the past few decades, eight cases of slave labor have been brought against employers in Florida’s tomato fields. Or the fact that as recently as October, six people who were forced to work on cocoa farms as children without pay won an appeal to sue Nestlé and Cargill on the basis that the companies knowingly condoned slave labor. In another example, more than a decade ago, Chiquita Brands International admitted to paying $1.7 million to a Colombian paramilitary group “to kill or intimidate” workers who were promoting collective bargaining on banana plantations.

The latter is one of several examples highlighted in a new reportcompleted by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to foodHilal Elver, in an effort to call attention to some of the conditions affecting farmworkers using the lens of hunger.

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