4 million-member-strong anti-slavery leader Walk Free enters the fray in Wendy’s campaign!

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International anti-slavery giant Walk Free launches e-action calling on Wendy’s to “sign the Fair Food Agreement now and help end slavery forever in Florida’s tomato fields.”

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The Australia-based anti-slavery organization Walk Free — which boasts a community of over 4 million members — wrote a novel email to its vast network of supporters the other day.  Like most emails calling for action in the anti-slavery movement, it began by recounting the story of a worker, Antonio, forced to work against his will. But then this email took a different turn:

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… Just a few years ago, stories like Antonio’s were frighteningly common. The situation in the U.S. tomato industry was so bad that one federal prosecutor called Florida “Ground-zero for modern slavery”.2

Now is the part of the message we rarely get to write in the fight against modern slavery – we’re on the verge of eliminating slavery in Florida’s tomato fields. Forever.

That’s because the Fair Food Program has made historic progress in tackling forced labour and exploitation on Florida’s tomato farms. A massive 90% of growers have already joined the Fair Food Program, an initiative with a proven track record in fighting modern slavery. And four of the 5 biggest U.S. fast food giants have signed the Fair Food Agreement, investing in the fight for a slavery-free agricultural industry. 

Now that’s an exciting email!  It’s not often that we can talk about winning the fight against modern-day slavery, but thanks to the Fair Food Program, which imposes strict, zero-tolerance market consequences for forced labor, Florida’s tomato fields have gone from “ground zero for modern-day slavery” to zero cases of slavery in just three years.  The email continues, identifying one of the few remaining obstacles to winning the fight altogether, Wendy’s:

But one company stands in the way of progress: Wendy’s refuses to join the Fair Food Program to ensure slavery is not in its supply chain. If Wendy’s follows the lead of McDonald’s, Subway, Burger King and Taco Bell, their immense purchasing power could help bring the last 10% of farms to the table and ensure the tomato industry never sees another case of modern slavery.

Call on Wendy’s – the final fast food hold-out – to help end slavery forever in Florida’s tomato fields.

By taking action today, you could be part of history. Wendy’s is one of the last obstacles in this battle against modern slavery – and it’s a battle we can win. If the last few remaining growers sign up we can keep Florida’s tomato fields slavery-free.

Antonio’s story is a chilling example of the horrors of modern slavery. Thankfully, the Fair Food Program is transforming the tomato fields of Florida with a zero-tolerance approach to forced labour. The program’s success has been recognised by human rights observers from the United Nations to the White House.

There’s even more good news – the CEO of Wendy’s previously headed up Taco Bell where he signed that fast food giant onto the Fair Food Agreement. He knows the program can make a difference in the fight against modern slavery in the U.S. tomato industry.

You, too, can let Wendy’s know that the time has come to join the Fair Food Program and make a real investment in human rights.  As it stands today, Subway, McDonald’s, Burger King, Yum Brands, and Chipotle — all key competitors to Wendy’s in the fast-food marketplace — are paying a Fair Food premium on Florida tomatoes.  Wendy’s isn’t.  That means Wendy’s is actually deriving a competitive advantage by turning its back on human rights and refusing to join the program, and instead continuing to profit from farmworker poverty.

Tell Wendy’s it’s time to get with the Fair Food Program.  Send Wendy’s an email through the Walk Free e-action today!

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