Dean Rohrer

Rechtvaardigheid uit tomaten

NEW YORK – De laatste fastfood hamburger die je gegeten hebt zal je misschien bijna niets gekost hebben. Maar wat heeft het schijfje tomaat op die burger de arbeider gekost die het daar gekregen heeft? Ongeveer overal in de wereld (inclusief de Verenigde Staten) kunnen deze kosten schokkend hoog zijn.

Ontstellend lage lonen zijn slechts het begin. In Florida verdienen tomatenplukkers een gemiddelde van slecht 50 dollarcent voor elke emmer van 32 pound (14,5 kg). Een arbeider die de hele dag plukt (zware lichamelijke arbeid die voor zonsopkomst begint) heeft geluk als hij 10.500 dollar per jaar verdient, wat hem onder de armoedegrens plaatst.

Dan zijn er nog de alarmerende mensenrechtenschendingen. In Mexico bevrijdden de autoriteiten onlangs 300 mensen, waaronder 39 tieners, die in ‘slavernij-achtige omstandigheden in een kamp waar tomaten gesorteerd en verpakt worden voor export gehouden’ werden. De federale autoriteiten van de VS hebben de tomatenvelden van Florida de ‘ground zero van de moderne slavernij genoemd’. Het misbruik van landarbeiders door de belangen van de ‘agribusiness’ waren ernstig en systematisch.

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