2019 Blog

Day 33: strawberry fields and labor trafficking

Today I drove the SAG van with my good pal Sarah. I had a great day hanging with her, sharing new music, and talking about color theory (weird, we know) as we drove to support the team along the way.


However, as we passed through a large agricultural district of California, we couldn’t help but bring up the topic of labor trafficking.

California is the worst state in the U.S. for labor trafficking and strawberry farming plays a large role in the labor trafficking industry.

As the demand for strawberries continues to increase, companies look for ways to cut costs and increase their income. Cheap labor is what they settle for. Companies often pay their workers based on how many strawberries they pick within a certain amount of time, resulting in an unfair berry to dollar ratio that is difficult to make a living out of.


As we passed by the endless fields, we wondered about how those workers are actually treated. The heat was beaming down on them as they bent over to pick strawberries. Although they were far away, some workers even looked like they were actually children.

Sex trafficking is also prevalent in the agriculture industry as well. Workers have to endure sexual assault while on the job because they have no where else to go to make a living.

Today served as a reminder that we cannot stop advocating and fighting injustice. I encourage you to look into where your food comes from and what it may be supporting.

I continue to learn more about trafficking on this trip more and more each day and I love being able to share what I have learned with others. My hope is that you’ll share with others as well!

For more information on trafficking in the agriculture industry, check out the documentary “Rape in the Fields” from PBS.

-Keaton Calhoun

August 7, 2022
Rachel Johnson

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