Modern Day Slavery (CNN)

KEILAR: It's a story that is hard to believe -- modern day slavery in America. We will find out more about abuses migrant workers are facing as they help put food on your table.


KEILAR: They work in the fields, picking the tomatoes that end up in supermarkets and restaurants across America. But as our CNN special investigations unit discovered, many of these workers are victims of modern-day slavery.

Abbie Boudreau joining us now with -- you have an update on this story.


U.S. senator Bernie Sanders says he's appalled by some of the conditions in these labor camps in Florida. Now he's fighting for better wages for these migrants who are often here illegally so they don't report their abuses, instead they live a life of slavery in silence.


BOUDREAU (voice-over): Modern day slavery, workers allegedly held captive in plain sight. Cases where prosecutors say migrants were locked overnight in vans like this one in southwest Florida, pushed and kicked if they didn't work. Investigators say one man's hands were chained behind his back.

Nearby, across the street from a busy casino, laborers escorted to this phone booth, allowed to call home, but not allowed to say they're being held as slaves.

It's situations like these that Senator Bernie Sanders says must stop.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: So within that industry, you have workers who are literally in the United States of America in the year 2008 being forced to work against their will. Most Americans thought that we abolished slavery at the end of the Civil War. Well, I guess not. It's going on in the tomato fields of Florida right now.

BOUDREAU: Just last month, Sanders held hearings on migrant worker abuses, poor wages and working conditions.

SANDERS: The wages for the tomato workers are literally at starvation level. There are people there making $200 a week, $250 a week. The housing conditions there are absolutely deplorable. Access to health care is almost nonexistent and we've got to do something about that.


BOUDREAU: Sanders says he's asked for a government-accounting office study to investigate these slave-like conditions. There are other groups already out there trying to help, like the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in Florida. They've been fighting for 15 years to help abused migrants break free from their captors.

But it's really important that this story gets out there so perhaps changes could be made.