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Modern-day slavery: How drug addicts are forced to work on farms for free in exchange for feeding their habits

Filed under: Crime |

Farm workers told Times reporter Ben Montgomery of how drugs and debt bound them to a form of indentured servitude in the rural town, with a population of 750.

The exposé follows a lawsuit filed on behalf of of LeRoy Smith last month, who in federal court documents claims he was lured into working at Bulls-Hit while playing a game of chess at a Jacksonville park on May 1, 2010.

Labor contractors, he says, took advantage of his crack addiction, betting that he would work for nothing in order to feed it.

Instead, when he got there, Smith says he found ‘Slavery. Abuse. Overwork. Deplorable, unsanitary conditions. Drugs,’ he told the Times.

The suit, filed by Florida Legal Services and Farmworker Justice on behalf of Smith and another former worker at Bulls-Hit, Dennis Nash, alleges the men were victims of labor trafficking while employed in 2009 and 2010.

They claim the farm’s labor contractor, Ronald Uzzle, recruited men from homeless shelters in the region and played on their drug dependencies to build a low-cost work force.

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2 Responses to Modern-day slavery: How drug addicts are forced to work on farms for free in exchange for feeding their habits

  1. I am just asking, do black people want to be slaves? You continually turn your back on education, you lay down with and produce children destined to poverty and no future and you are fascinated with the thug life, jail and drugs. I think you want to be a SLAVE…correct me if I am wrong.

    May 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm

  2. Nobody wants to be a slave! Not all Black people turn their backs on education and not all Black babies born into or destined to poverty. No, not all Black people are fascinated with thug life, jail and drugs. My question to you is what is your level of eduction, your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings and possibly your own child(ren’s) education level. I do not believe that an educated person would make such a statement unless he or she were a racist and that is exactlyou how your statement sounds. For every 1 Black person you describe there are at least 4 Whites with the same isssue. Black people are not given the same opportunities in this country as Whites and you know this. Black people have to work more than twice as hard, be better educated and be twice as smart as a White person to have a chance at the same opportunites. That is why many Blacks do not succeed in this country, what is the excuse of Whites in America?

    Hortensia Jackson
    September 6, 2012 at 8:45 pm

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