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Catholic Charities Participates in March to End Modern Slavery

PALM BEACH - April 2, 2022

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Palm Beach participated in the March to End Modern Slavery in the fields in Bradley Park in Palm Beach Florida on April 2.  

Why did farmworkers march on April 2?

Farmworkers with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) created the award-winning Fair Food Program, a uniquely successful program of worker-led monitoring and enforcement that has virtually eradicated long-standing human rights abuses, from sexual assault to modern-day slavery, for tens of thousands of farmworkers under its groundbreaking protections. 

The Fair Food Program is widely recognized as the new gold standard for protecting fundamental human rights in corporate supply chains, winning acclaim from human rights observers from the United Nations to the White House.

All of the largest fast-food companies — McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Taco Bell and Chipotle — joined the program a decade ago.  All except Wendy’s. 

Meanwhile, in fields beyond the Fair Food Program’s reach, headlines across the country show modern slavery on the rise again. Indeed, it has become truly big business.

In one of several recent prosecutions, 24 people were arrested as part of a forced labor conspiracy alleged to have affected 71,000 workers and netted over $200 million in illegal profits in a multi-year operation in the onion fields of South Georgia. 

Catholic Charities Bakhita Empowerment Program staff attended the event, to include the Program Director, Sandra Perez, and Case Managers Joanna Bejarano and Isabel Matthysse.  The Bakhita Empowerment Program serves victims of human trafficking and refugees.  

We were happy to meet up with Clayton Sinyai, the Executive Director of the Catholic Labor Network, a place for Catholics — lay, religious and clergy — who find inspiration in Catholic Social Teaching on labor and work, and wish to share it with the world. 

"Catholic Charities is committed to ending the horrible practice of human trafficking and serving those who are victims of the crime," says Sandra Perez, Bakhita Empowerment Program Director.  "It's a big part of our mission to serve people in need and create hope in all stages of life."

Visit Catholic Charities website  at to learn more about the Bakhita Empowerment Program and join us in the fight to end human trafficking by making a donation here:  Bakhita Empowerment Donation.