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Initiative to end Human Trafficking in NE Ohio


The Collaborative Initiative to End Human Trafficking is sponsoring several presentations across northeastern Ohio by members of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.  The Coalition (CIW) is a community-based organization of migrant farmworkers headquartered in Immokalee, Florida. 


These workers have long been subjected to brutal conditions in the fields, including sub-poverty wages, widespread labor rights violations and human trafficking, a form of modern-day slavery.  According to their website, since 1997, the CIW has been active in the discovery, investigation and prosecution of several human trafficking operations in Florida, helping to liberate over 1,000 workers.


At the various area programs, the CIW representatives will describe their personal experiences and interact with their audiences.  They will highlight the connection between labor trafficking and the food we eat, challenging audiences to take positive action to promote fair wages and working conditions in our fields and change our shopping practices to benefit those who bring produce to our tables.


The CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food seeks to improve wages and working conditions for Florida tomato pickers by calling on major buyers of tomatoes to pay one penny more per pound for their tomatoes, ensure that this penny is passed down directly to farmworkers, and work together with the CIW to establish and implement a code of conduct in their supply chains.  Thanks to CIW’s efforts and those of Fair Food activists, Florida tomato growers and a number of food industry leaders (including McDonalds, Subway and Whole Foods) have made strides in implementing CIW’s fair food principles. 


One of the major sites for the CIW presentations is the Ohio Fair Trade Expo at John Carroll University, October 22, 2011, 9:00a.m.- 4:00 p.m.  The Expo is free and open to the public.


Other sites, dates and locations which are also free and open to the public include:


§  Wednesday, October 19, 2011, 5:00 p.m. at the Nord Center, 6140 S. Broadway, Lorain, OH 44053.  (Call 440-204-4225 to register);


§  Thursday, October 20, 2011, 7:00 p.m. at the West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church, 20401 Hilliard Blvd, Rocky River, OH;


§  Sunday, October 23, 2011, 1:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Greater Canton, 2585 Eaton Street, NE, Canton, OH.


The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is one of only two U.S. recipients of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.  CIW was also recognized by the U.S. Department of State when one of its representatives, Laura Germino, was chosen as a 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report hero.  Among her many accomplishments, Germino helped to develop curriculum for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on advanced investigative techniques in human trafficking and for the National Sheriffs’ Association on first response to victims of crime.  To learn more about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, go to www.ciw-online.org.


The Collaborative Initiative to End Human Trafficking is a group of concerned professionals whose mission is to educate and advocate for the prevention and abolition of human trafficking while connecting services on behalf of trafficked persons.  For more information, please call the Collaborative Initiative to End Human Trafficking at 440-356-2254.


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Revised: 10/11/11 13:20:47 -0700.





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