Migrant workers reap bitter harvest in Ontario
Migrant workers reap bitter harvest in Ontario: Women in particular find themselves vulnerable to violence and intimidation
by Evelyn Encalada Grez, Toronto Star, October 28, 2008.
I had to pick up Laura at the apple farm with two police officers. We left the farm in such haste that Laura's belongings were scattered in various plastic bags.
It was a rescue mission more reminiscent of a crime scene. She could not leave without lovingly saying goodbye to each of the women with whom she had shared that awful crammed bunkhouse.
When she was ready, she turned to me and said: "Let's go." We walked together, Laura on crutches and in much pain, tears flowing down her face, tears that quickly became contagious.
The tall, white, male police officers were shocked. They had no clue that migrant women lived and worked in their community, let alone what some had to go through to earn a living producing food that ended up on our kitchen tables. One of the officers said "apples are never going to taste the same again."
Laura's crime was to have been injured at work. She lost her balance, fell off a tractor and her legs were crushed by its wheels. As soon as she regained consciousness after her first surgery, an official from the Mexican consulate in Toronto started harassing her.