Everyone’s talking about cruise ships. According to the CDC, COVID-19 cases on cruise ships have increased 30-fold in the past two weeks. Media coverage includes plenty of quotes from cruise line representatives who have minimized the danger as well as tales from passengers whose vacations went awry due to ship-wide outbreaks and closed ports. Notably absent are the voices of the cruise ship workers who clean toilets, change beds and serve food aboard.
In response, Lissette Marquez, a former cruise ship worker and member of CDM’s Migrant Defense Committee (Comité), penned an op-ed this week in The Washington Post. Click here to read her op-ed!
After graduating college, Lisette thought she was embarking on the perfect summer opportunity: a chance to travel while waiting tables on a cruise ship with an C-1/D temporary work visa.
But the reality she details in her op-ed, “Cruise ships have never been more dangerous for workers,” is far from what she was promised. Lissette encountered wage theft, intimidation and illness in the middle of the ocean – there was nowhere to go.
Thousands of workers are recruited internationally to work under obscure guestworker programs such as the C-1/D visa that offer weak protections for workers and inadequate government oversight.
We need a values-based model for labor migration that corrects power imbalances – one that centers the voices of workers like Lissette. Regardless of their industry, visa category or place of employment, every worker must be treated with dignity and respect. Will you stand with Lissette by making a donation to ensure workers’ voices are reflected in the policies that affect them?