The most uncovered story of the year is also an unlikely one — a story of success in the fight against sexual violence in the workplace. It comes out of Florida’s tomato fields, known less than a decade ago as “ground zero for modern slavery.” It offers lessons for women and men in workplaces everywhere, as well as a solution that could make 2017 the turning point in the history of sexual harassment and assault at work.
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) Fair Food Program is putting a stop to workplace sexual abuse in a world where fully 80 percent of women farmworkers report having experienced harassment or assault. The plan was developed by the farmworkers themselves, historically one of the most powerless groups of workers in America. They do it through a combination of worker-to-worker education, a 24-hour hotline and an independent monitor that investigates complaints — all backed by real economic consequences for violations that go uncorrected.
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