As the rate of climate-fueled disasters intensifies, we speak with author and organizer Saket Soni about the workers who are hired by corporations to clean up after hurricanes, floods, blizzards and wildfires. Soni’s new book, “The Great Escape: A True Story of Forced Labor and Immigrant Dreams in America,” focuses on hundreds of Indian workers who were brought to the United States with false promises and subjected to grueling working conditions at a shipyard in Mississippi. When one of those workers called Soni in 2006 for help, it set off an extraordinary chain of events that led to their escape from the work camp and eventually focused national attention on the plight of the workers. “As disasters have grown, this workforce has grown. And these workers do all this without legal protections, without legal status,” says Soni, a longtime labor organizer and the director of Resilience Force, a nonprofit that advocates for immigrant workers who help rebuild communities after climate disasters.
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