Sen. Ossoff Working to Protect Farmworkers in Georgia from Human Rights Abuses & Human Trafficking

Operation Blooming Onion last year outlined serious & pervasive human rights abuses against immigrant workers in Georgia

Sen. Ossoff urges full review of Federal H-2A visa program

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff is leading the charge to protect farmworkers in Georgia from human rights abuses and human trafficking.

Today in a letter, Sen. Ossoff called on the Biden Administration to undertake a full review of the H-2A visa program to ensure farmworkers are protected from abuses that result in modern-day slavery.

Last year, a Federal indictment and investigation, dubbed Operation Blooming Onion, uncovered serious human rights abuses and poor labor conditions stemming from power abuses from labor contractors who misuse the H-2A visa program. 

The investigation found immigrant farmworkers were forced to withstand unsafe, inhumane, and dangerous living and working conditions under fear of deportation. 

“Farmworkers play a critical role sustaining our nation’s food supply, yet they remain subject to exploitation and abuse through the H-2A visa program and the criminals across the country that fraudulently utilize it to enrich themselves and to deprive guest workers of basic human rights. We must act now to protect the human rights of all people on our soil,” Sen. Ossoff wrote.

According to the Federal indictment and The Savannah Morning News, “24 conspirators reaped more than $200 million over three years from the illegal scheme, which involved laundering the funds through cash purchases of land, homes, vehicles and businesses, and through cash purchases of cashier’s checks.”

In some cases, workers in Georgia were paid only 20 cents per bucket harvested — while being threatened with violence and deportation.

Workers were held in fenced-in work camps with little or no food, limited plumbing, and no safe water.

Click here to read Sen. Ossoff’s letter.

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