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Cover Story in The Texas Observer
dana ullman
Jul 17, 2019
Every year thousands of transnational agricultural workers on H-2A temporary work visas come to the U.S. to cultivate and harvest the food we eat and the fibers which clothe us. Last year, with the extraordinary support of the International Women's Media Foundation Under-Reported Stories grant, I traveled from Monterrey, Mexico to the NW corner of Texas documenting the experiences of some of these workers over a season and their "American Dream" - to support their families back home. What I found is how easily a legal visa system can put these men and women with little agency at-risk for exploitation and forced labor to feed the chain of supply and demand for cheap labor. In a State of the Union address early this year, President Trump said “Human traffickers and sex traffickers take advantage of the wide-open areas between our ports of entry to smuggle thousands of young girls and women into the United States and to sell them into prostitution and modern-day slavery.” But the truth is the majority of trafficked persons enter through legal ports of entry on legal visas and not surprisingly, Trump distorts the reality of human trafficking and addressing the prevalence of labor trafficking, which gets little attention compared to sex trafficking. I'm incredibly grateful to have met such hardworking souls who shared their stories with me, to have had a chance to dive deep into this under-reported topic and share a sliver of the issue as this month's cover story in The Texas Observer. A thousand thanks to Megan Kimble, Drue Wagner, Fernando, Randy, Zacarias, Taiya, Brandi, Lus, Stacie, Lidia, Juan and everyone at IWMF. More stories to come...

July/August 2019 - The Texas Observer

July/August 2019 - The Texas Observer

DANA ULLMAN

Dana Ullman is a New York-based photojournalist documenting social issues internationally.
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