MEXICO CITY – Hundreds of farm workers in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur are being exploited by employers who trick them into believing they are in the United States and keep them in line with threats of deportation, the state’s official Human Rights Commission said.
Commission chairman Jordan Arrazola told capital daily Milenio in an interview published Friday that the recruiters involved in the scam are members of the CTM, one of Mexico’s most powerful labor unions.
“They make them (the workers) believe they are in the United States and don’t let them go out, they practically have them locked up,” Arrazola said.
“The foremen threaten to report them to ‘la migra’ (U.S. immigration authorities) to get them deported,” the official said.
Violations of human rights are common on many of the 40 large farms in Baja California Sur that grow vegetables for export to the United States, he said, noting that most of the workers are recruited from Mexico’s poorest, least-developed regions.
Arrazola said the farm owners keep out investigators from the rights commission and “anybody who can witness the human rights violations and crimes that are committed.”
The living areas provided for the workers, many of whom bring their families, lack the most basic facilities, Arrazola said.
Milenio cited data from the Baja California Sur government showing that the state’s farms recruit around 25,000 workers per year from southern Mexico. EFE