Free the Slaves is the creator of the world’s largest free video library on slavery. You can stream some of our films here. In producing this library, we have documented numerous stories of survival, through interviews. We have made several transcriptions of these interviews available to the public, unedited. On the Free the Slaves website, you can read first person accounts of survival and rehabilitation, like the story told by “Miguel” (his name has been changed.) Miguel was enslaved in the orange groves of Florida, until he was emancipated by the Coalition for Immokalee Workers.
Here is his story:
Miguel wanted to work in the United States because his young son had cancer and Miguel couldn’t afford the medicine on the salary he made in Mexico. He didn’t have the cash to pay for his journey to the United States so he accepted an offer to get a ride “now” and pay “later”. He soon found himself in a worse situation. He was enslaved in the orange groves of Florida. Every day Miguel was threatened with violence.
“Well, I felt like a slave from the moment that I arrived because we couldn’t pay for the ride and because we had to pay for that and then they started to threaten us.” Miguel said. “It was horrible.”
One day some people from an organization called Coalition for Immokalee Workers visited the workers at the site. They started asking questions about Miguel’s work. At first he didn’t trust them but his instincts told him to ask for their card. Later he decided to call them and after talking with them he started to trust them. He set up a time to meet and the CIW set up a rescue.
Now Miguel is working because he wants to. He has the freedom to take days off and work overtime if he wants to. He is able to send money back home to his family now. His son is healthy.
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is the producer of the successful Campaign for Fair Food, targeting abusive labor practices in the supply chains of fast food giants Taco Bell, McDonalds and Burger King. Read more about their campaign here.