Tag Archiv: 海东桑拿

California Wildfires Leave Seasonal Agricultural Workers In Limbo

first_imgFarida Jhabvala Romero/KQEDLuis Guerrero fills barrels with crushed grapes at Valley of the Moon winery in Sonoma, Calif., Oct 16, 2017. Guerrero says he’s struggling to pay for rent after the wildfires forced the winery to close.For more than a week, Marisol Paniagua has been living at an evacuation center. She had been scheduled to pick grapes at a vineyard near the city of Santa Rosa, Calif. But that work was canceled because of the wildfires ravaging Northern California.“It’s very difficult right now because we just have a little bit of gas left in our car. That’s how we are still able to drive around,” said Paniagua, 37. “But the fact is, we have nothing.”The wildfires in Northern California have already done more than $1 billion in damage according to the state’s insurance commissioner. In Sonoma County, one of the hardest hit areas, about a third of the economy is related to agriculture, wine and tourism.Now, seasonal workers in the region like Paniagua are facing the loss of jobs and income.Paniagua, who’s originally from Mexico, has lived in the Santa Rosa area for more than 20 years. All three of her children were born in the U.S. But now she wonders whether she’ll be able to afford to stay in the area.“Without money and without work, what are we going to do here?” says Paniagua.In California, Latinos make up 71 percent of agricultural workers. The fires ravaging wine country are hitting this population hard. The lack of jobs and the destruction of affordable homes due to the fires could force people to move elsewhere. That’s a concern for grape growers in the region.“We cannot afford to lose our labor force. Nobody can whether it’d be in agriculture or anything else,” says Chad Clark with Allied Grape Growers, a California wine-grape marketing cooperative that represents more than 100 wineries in areas affected by wildfires.He says dozens of vineyard owners have sustained damage. He says that could displace seasonal agricultural workers. Still most vineyards are standing, and Clark says the priority there is to pick the grapes left on the vines as quickly as possible.“That’s proving to be very difficult, just because of all the road closures,” Clark says. “And you know, what people have lost — they’ve lost their vehicles, their means of transportation.”Valley of the Moon is one of the oldest wineries in the region. It wasn’t damaged, but many of its workers had to evacuate their homes. General Manager Dave MacDonald says grape growers are concerned about their workers and will try to help them.The winery subcontracts crews of farmworkers, plus has about 25 workers in other areas. MacDonald said only 10 workers were around the day I was there — and only for half a day.“I know that you know every company in this industry will do their best to help to absorb some of that workforce and help to find some work for others that need it,” says MacDonald.Valley of the Moon was closed last week, and it is only slowly beginning to return to normal operations. Some grape growers have said they’ll pay their seasonal agricultural workers anyway.Luis Guerrero has 25 years of experience in wineries. He is working near Valley of the Moon’s cellar, using a big metal hose to fill wooden barrels with crushed grapes.“I really needed to start working again,” says Guerrero, who makes $16 per hour working in wine production. “The work that I lost last week, that was money that would have paid for my rent.”Typically, seasonal hires in the area don’t get paid if they don’t work.“While the fires continue, there’s a lot of uncertainty,” said Guerrero. “Yesterday we came to work and they told us, ‘No,’ so we turned back.”Karissa Kruse, president of the Sonoma County Winegrowers, says some vineyard owners have said they will pay workers anyway for last week because the fires were an event completely out of the ordinary.Farida Jhabvala Romero is a reporter with member station KQED in San Francisco.Copyright 2017 KQED. To see more, visit KQED. Sharelast_img read more

Pioneering Lawsuit About Human Trafficking And Sexual Exploitation Filed In Houston

first_img Share Photo via PexelsAccording to the lawyers, the plaintiff was born and raised in Houston and the lawsuit contends that around early 2014, right before her 16th birthday, she “was sexually exploited through the use of  www.backpage.com.”Two Texas lawyers filed a pioneering civil lawsuit in Houston this week related to human trafficking and sexual exploitation. It targets a multitude of companies and businesses as defendants, several of them with highly recognizable names.Annie McAdams and David Harris filed the lawsuit on behalf of a 19 year-old woman who remains anonymous at Judge Brent Gamble’s 270th Civil Court in Harris County on Tuesday.Harris noted that the lawsuit is the first of its kind because it is based on Chapter 98 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, which establishes that a company can be held civilly liable for human trafficking if it benefits from it intentionally or knowingly.“We haven’t seen any other civil lawsuits of this magnitude brought under Chapter 98,” Harris underlined during an interview with Houston Public Media. McAdams and Harris explained they met the plaintiff, who is referred to as “Jane Doe # 1” in the lawsuit, when they were working on a project about human trafficking.According to the lawyers, the plaintiff was born and raised in Houston and the lawsuit contends that around early 2014, right before her 16th birthday, she “was sexually exploited through the use of  www.backpage.com.”Online facilitatorBackpage.com –which is one of the defendants— served as a facilitator between the people who forced the plaintiff to engage in prostitution and her clients, the lawsuit contends.One section of the lawsuit asserts that “(…) many men used www.backpage.com to gain access to Jane Doe #1 and sexually exploit her.”The lawsuit also says Backpage.com is the leading online marketplace for human trafficking and the sexual exploitation  of  minors  and  commercial  sex.Backpage.com did not respond to a request for comment from Houston Public Media.As for the other defendants, there are more than 20, including well-known names in the hospitality industry such as Hyatt Hotels Corporation,  along with  Palace Inn and Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores.The lawsuit contends the plaintiff, while being a minor, was repeatedly exploited at truck stops, motels and hotels located in the greater Houston area from 2014 to 2015.Al Ortiz | Houston Public MediaAnnie McAdams (left) and David Harris (right) are the lawyers representing a young woman who was the victim of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in the Houston area.The lawsuit also says there was a “constant flow of male customers” at the rooms where the plaintiff was staying and, yet, the establishments “refused to take any steps to alert the authorities, properly intervene in the situation, or take reasonable security steps to improve awareness of sex trafficking and/or prevent the sexual exploitation of minors at their properties.”The lawsuit adds that failure to act on the part of the motels and hotels listed as defendants led to Jane Doe # 1’s continued exploitation while the establishments “turned a blind eye to the plague of human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors at their locations.”Moreover, that turning a blind eye was done, according to the lawsuit, with the goal of maximizing profits by “not refusing room rentals in order to fill vacant rooms, even if those rentals were to minors who were being exploited by human traffickers, including Jane Doe #1.”Video Playerhttps://cdn.hpm.io/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/24172628/HPM-Red-2018-01-24-at-4.53pm.mp400:0000:0000:10Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.As for the truck stops that are listed as defendants, the lawsuit makes similar arguments as to those made against the hotels and motels and adds that they “knowingly benefit from human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors by allowing human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors to occur on their premise in order to secure the loyalty of truck stop customers who routinely seek to pay for sex.”Hyatt Hotels Corporation said in an email sent to Houston Public Media that they don’t comment on pending litigation, while Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores also communicated via email saying the company takes “these matters seriously” and is “looking into it.”McAdams detailed that the plaintiff is currently involved in “active recovery” but was a minor when the events mentioned in the lawsuit happened.  Harris noted that they are in contact with other victims.“We have a lot of other girls who’ve come forward that have expressed similar stories, horrific stories,” asserted the attorney.See a copy of the lawsuit below:last_img read more