I lived in a denial bubble where I never thought of slave labor existing in our world, let alone in our own country. I was a new mother twelve and a half years ago and went to visit my husband at his workplace that was right next to a Burger King. He often bought lunch there, and he sometimes brought it home for dinner.
The next-door lunch break runs ended with a crash. We found out news that Burger King’s tomato pickers were not being paid by the company and were suffering each day, trying to survive and provide for their own families. These people were in Immokalee, Florida. It was brought up in passing, but hit us deeply in our core. We decided then and there that we could not purchase items from a company that was not treating its workers with care. We decided to not eat there again until a change was made.
It was a couple months later that we learned about human trafficking and all that went along with it. Burger King exposed our hearts to something that we continue to speak passionately about today. Since then, we have learned to support companies that care for their workers and raise a voice for them. We have learned how to contact companies that have potential slave labor, and ask for a change.
Within this past month, we heard the news of the new Impossible “meat” burgers that Burger King is now serving. As one who doesn’t eat beef, I was excited about the alternative vegetarian/vegan option. I went digging around the Burger King site, searching for information about updates on the Immokalee labor trafficking issue possibly being worked out. It took about ten minutes, but I found their Code of Business Ethics and Conduct page that specifically states to work against slave labor and to help unite with Coalition of Immokalee Workers for Fair Food! This really blew my mind. I was so happy to see that there was a change that took place.
In the past, we at Justice Network featured the movie Food Chains that talked about the slave labor problems in Immokalee, Florida. It made me realize even more, that individuals such as my husband and I, have been able to bring along change! We used our voices and our money to express concerns that have created positive results. This is why we are abolitionists. This is why we are glad to be on the side of justice.
In the image above, You can see companies that comply with the Fair Food Program. These are companies you can trust to pay their workers down the supply chain. This week we ordered Burger King food with a smile. Our children tried their food and were so thrilled to learn the history I have just shared with you.