United States: Female Immigrant Farmworkers Vulnerable to Sexual Abuse
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 12:40 PM

A report released by Human Rights Watch found that female farmworkers are at high risk of sexual assault and harassment. The report indicates that most of the women are afraid to report instances of abuse for fear they will be fired or deported. Roughly 630,000 of the 3 million people who perform seasonal farm work in the United States are women. Of these approximately 60 percent are undocumented. Estimates vary as to how many women are abused, but studies indicate it could be as high as 80 percent. Grace Meng, the report’s author, explains "It's easiest for abusers to get away with sexual harassment where there's an imbalance of power, and the imbalance of power is particularly stark on farms.”  Human Rights Watch called on Congress to pass laws protecting immigrant farmworker women. They also called on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to repeal rules that encourage local police to report federal immigration violations if victims come forward.

Compiled from: Cone, Tracie. Report: female farmworkers suffer sex abuse, The Huffington Post (16 May 2012).