Alumni / Social Justice

Where Our Food Comes From: Slavery in the U.S.

Jules_154x154Jules Ku-Lea is a clinical counselor, Adler University alumni, and TEDx speaker. She is an advocate for social justice, spreading awareness about modern day slavery within our food supply chain.


If we eat, we are affected.

The Global Slavery Index estimates more than 35.8 million people are victims of slavery. These are people who cannot walk away, who are forced to work for no pay, and who are controlled 24/7 by their “masters” through intimidation, manipulation, and/or violence.

And a whopping 68 percent of slavery is forced labor used to produce our daily goods, including our food.

Slavery lurks in every crack and crevice of the globe, including the United States—a nation eager to leave its history of slavery firmly in the past.

However, in 2007, Ron Evans was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for recruiting homeless people from places like Miami and Tampa, with the promise for a better life–only to trap them in a modern day slave camp.

Similar stories can be found in John Bowe’s book, Nobodies, which exposes the shocking degree of exploitation in America. The expansive fields of Immokalee, Florida, is home to some of the most brutal atrocities of human rights. Where contractors lure migrant workers into a form of domestic servitude. Forced to work 12 hour days, with no breaks, shade, or pay. Slapped, kicked, pistol whipped, locked in a U-haul truck and shackled in chains at night.

Just like there are certain produce that are more prone to pesticides, there are kinds of produce that are also more likely to have come from slave labor. Through my research, it became evident tomatoes, strawberries, and oranges, are often tainted with slavery in the USA.

If we eat, we are affected.

To learn more please watch my TEDx talk, “Is There A Slave In Your Food?”