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Saturday, February 23, 2019

We took 43,106 names to California!- FREEDOM UNITED.

Dear David,

We just handed in 43,106 petition signatures to the Attorney General of California, Xavier Becerra!
Sign to #EndPrisonSlavery
This week we joined our partners, Detainee Allies, and stood in solidarity with immigrants. We asked Attorney General Becerra about investigating forced labor at the Otay Mesa immigration detention center operated by for-profit prison company CoreCivic.

Detainee Allies has collected dozens of letters from detainees, documenting stories of forced labor, and contaminated food, and medical neglect.[1]

Jamal* and Maria* ended up in Otay Mesa, having fled their home countries for their own safety. Maria used social media to report on the military in Cameroon. She was eventually forced to leave to avoid persecution, only to be detained in the US. She has remained in detention since 2016.

Jamal just wanted to live a life free from slavery and exploitation. He left Eritrea to escape military conscription and possible forced labor, only to be subjected to forced labor in the US. Now, Jamal is terrified of returning home and inhumane conditions in the detention center are crushing all hopes for a better life:
“Eritrean Government & Military they will send me to prison, how long they will arrest me I don’t know, then they will ask me about my mother, then they will hurt me. After that they will send me to military service. Then they will teach me how to be a killer & how to use a gun...Then at last they will kill me.” 
Detainees are easy to coerce. Maria wanted to refuse to work for$1 a day. If she did, she would be left without meager funds to pay for necessary phone calls to loved ones and adequate food from the commissary. Sometimes, detainees are not paid at all.  

Detainee Allies received reports of the poor conditions in the center:
"All of us detainees work in the janitorial department, yet we never receive our $1/day salary. They just make us do the cleaning.” 
“Sometimes they give us rotten food. They treat us as if we were criminals, and yet our only crime is to flee from our home countries because of the crime and lack of safety there.
California’s Attorney General has committed to investigating abuses at Otay Mesa, but we need to keep up the pressure to end forced labor across all CoreCivic prisons across the United States.Can you help by adding your name?  

Many of the detained migrants are asylum seekers, abused while they await their immigration hearings.

Help strengthen our call to end slavery in detention by adding your name today.

In solidarity,

Joanna and the Freedom United team

*Details and quotes pulled from real witness accounts, anonymized for their protection.
Joanna Ewart-James
Executive Director, Freedom United

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