Law: Fighting the New Slavery

Federal officials step up efforts to rescue migrants from peonage

Every year during the summer, waves of migrants work their way northward from the South and Mexico, harvesting the fruit and vegetables of orchards and farms. Although their often appalling working conditions and meager wages have long been the object of reformers' zeal, some of the migrants are suffering an even greater degradation: slavery.

Officials of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division are cracking down on what they believe is the widespread use of threats and violence to force migrants and other transients to work....

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