mlive.com;By Jim Harger: GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Dennis Wenke is modest about the role that his business, Wenke Greenhouses, played in rescuing six migrant workers who were trapped by abusive crew leaders.
But Teresa Hendricks, executive director of the Migrant Legal Aid(MLA), said the Kalamazoo grower and his employees showed great courage in identifying a human trafficking situation and offering shelter to the victims.
Wenke will be honored with the “Good Grower Award” when the MLA hosts its second annual “Harvest of Justice” luncheon at Versluis Orchards in Standale on Sept. 12.
mlive.com;By Jim Harger: The event honors the hard work of migrant farmworkers, who besides earning very low wages, often face adverse living and working conditions, Hendricks said.
“We want people to be grateful of all the hands that pick the food they eat every day,”Hendricks said.
An alert Wenke Greenhouses employee recognized that six of their migrant workers were being victimized by crew leaders who were forcing them to cash their paychecks and turn over most of their money in exchange for shoddy housing and food.