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As filmmakers, we want to bring more awareness to a widespread issue here in Florida- domestic servitude. A recent case in Miami exposes this devastation and how it has become a common occurrence in our major cities.
In 2010, a couple in South Florida were caught forcing nearly FORTY immigrants to work in country clubs and hotels throughout Miami. The workers were threated with deportation on a regular basis and stripped of their passports. They were housed in nearly intolerable conditions without adequate food or water supply. With practically zero compensation, these immigrant workers suffered a great deal.
The case was taken to federal court and the couple, Sophia Manuel and Alfonso Baldonaldo Jr., were charged and sentenced to 4-6 years in federal prison. On top of the trafficking charges, the couple were also found guilty for perjury and fraud.
This case is considered human trafficking, as opposed to just poor labor conditions, due to the deportation threats, force of labor, and insufficient living conditions.
Modern slavery has become prevalent throughout Florida and is considered one of the top three destinations for trafficking victims, alongside New York and California. The victims are forced into unskilled labor throughout large cities with tourist spots. As common as this devastation is in Florida, so few people know it.
We hope to accomplish this, in a small way, with our film. Together, we can make a difference and bring an end to this tragedy.