(Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

A new Frontline investigative documentary uncovers the stories of migrant women who say they have been sexually assaulted in America’s fields and packing plants. The women reportedly endure harassment and sexual assault in silence, for fear of risking their jobs or being deported. Frontline spent a year investigating this story in collaboration with the Center for Investigative Reporting, UC Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program, and Univision. We discuss the investigation.

Guests:
William R. Tamayo, regional attorney for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Andres Cediel, producer of "Rape in the Fields" for Frontline, and the Spanish-language version, "Violacion de un Sueno," for Univision
Bernice Yeung, reporter for the Center for Investigative Reporting, who spent a year on the project

  • FuddyDud

    Rape is horrible, but what about the human trafficking issue? Is it not the case that illegal farm workers are often shuttled between fields around the US resulting in their being separated from family and friends and therefore more easily controlled? Where there is smoke there is fire and I suspect rape is but one symptom of larger organized crime activities.

    • Recuerdos

      Business interests want to continue the trafficking situation and to keep it under the radar as long as possible, so of course *they* will never recognize a connection between the bigger picture of an oppressive work predicament (modern day slavery) and instances of sexual oppression. Never ever… But if during this show none of the researchers brings up this connection, you will know the research was rigged from the start.

      • thucy

        Well said.

  • jurgispilis

    One shameful aspect of this problem is the tolerance of our government for illegal immigration. With a visa, and legal authorization to work in this nation, a worker has some basic protections. Lacking legal status puts the worker in an “indentured servitude” status, open to all sorts of exploitation including rape, unsafe working conditions, excessive hours, exposure to toxins, no insurance coverage, etc.

    The answer is to make sure every worker is a legal worker. And that will happen with enforcement of our laws, not with an amnesty.

    • thucy

      the “indentured servitude” aspect really affects managerial expectations of all workers.

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    Who are the men raping? Are they illegally here and have they been protected either by employers? Do ‘Sanctuary’ policies contribute to the decision to not report arrestees to ICE/INS?

    I HATE bullies and these cowards should be dealt with as severely as the law allows. No protection for these rapists, please!

    • thucy

      “Who are the men raping? Are they illegally here and have they been protected either by employers? Do ‘Sanctuary’ policies contribute to the decision to not report arrestees to ICE/INS?”

      Right, Mrs. Nissenbaum. Because white American men never raped field workers or servants. Just ask Sally Hemming’s family.

  • gez devlin

    South of the border town Arivaca Az, there is a tree on a migrant trail full of female underwear, it’s called the ‘rape tree’ and these ‘trophies’ have been documented in film. The coyotes that smuggle large groups across the southern desert are believed to be mainly responsible for these crimes.

    Thus, these women, and sometimes minors, are exposed to rape entering the country.

  • Bonnie Cediel

    As I am listening to your program, I am getting a strong feeling of responsibility. I buy fruits and vegetables here in this country. I am paying the owners of these farms.

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