Thursday, April 17, 2014


Mark your calendar: April 21: Defending Hawaii's food supply by fighting farm labor trafficking

by Larry Geller

Please attend the meeting (see announcement, below) on Monday, April 21, if you are concerned with the safety of your food, and how the deplorable treatment of farm workers affects all of us. The problem is not “out there someplace”—it’s right there in front of you, on your dining room table.

If the previous article (below this one) scares you, it should.

The commercial press celebrated when federal charges had to be dropped against Aloun Farms, and never pursued the related issues of human trafficking on other farms in Hawaii nor the excessive use of pesticides that endangers all of our health.

Disadvantaged minorities don’t do well in Hawaii, whether they are special ed students, those who suffer mental health issues, Pacific Islanders, or—and these may be among the most disadvantaged of all—trafficked and exploited workers on Hawaii’s farms. Yes, human trafficking whether of sex workers or farm laborers is a terrible thing. In this instance, the problem can’t be ignored because it affects us all in our homes, on a daily basis.

Come hear two speakers who have been closely involved with remedying the problems of farm worker trafficking. Learn about the implications of Hawaii’s tolerance of the situation and how it affects you.

Perhaps Monday’s presentation will lead to a course of action to protect both the workers and our food supply.

On many Oahu farms, foreign workers hired as pesticide “sprayers” get sick and have even died as a result of repeated, excessive exposure to this pesticide.

Several of the workers on Oahu farms who Hawaii Reporter spoke to through translators cannot read product labels and warnings because they are written in English, so they may not mix or spray pesticides safely.

In many cases, Hawaii Reporter found workers are not given protective gear by Oahu farm owners and don’t have the proper training to apply pesticide safely on the fruits and vegetables they grow. The fruits and vegetables are then sold at Hawaii’s farmers’ markets and grocery stores and also are shipped overseas.


Monday, April 21, 2014

11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Miyama Main Hall, Harris United Methodist Church

Nuuanu Ave. and South Vineyard Blvd.

Ample parking - driveway off Nuuanu Ave.



11:30 Optional luncheon: Various Subway Sandwiches, Salad, Dessert—$5.00 Donation


11:50 Welcome: Introductions and Remarks, Larry Geller, President


12:00 Program: Defending Hawaii's food supply by fighting farm labor trafficking”

Guest Speakers: Malia Zimmerman and Clare Hanusz

Malia Zimmerman, Editor of the Hawaii Reporter, has won journalism awards for her public service reporting and for her investigation of human trafficking.

Attorney Clare Hanusz has represented many of the Thai farm workers trafficked to Hawaii. She is a founding member of the Hawaii Coalition for Immigration Reform and has spoken on immigration issues before many local groups and university classes.

Can Hawaii's food supply be considered safe if farm workers are compelled to apply pesticides in an unsafe manner?


12:30 Questions and Answers

1:00   Adjourn 


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