Associate Producer, 'Burned: Abuse in LA's Restaurant Industry'
FROM Miguel Contreras
Burned: Trafficking At only nine years old, "Diana" struggled under the weight of heavy food trays at a local pupusería in Pacoima. Often thought to be a relative working for family, Diana was in fact a victim of child labor trafficking. Purchased by a family friend for $10,000, she was smuggled into the US from El Salvador.
Burned: Getting away with it Maria Vazquez worked as everything from cook to accountant at her long-time fast food job on Crenshaw. Single and a mother to six, she worked long days without overtime pay. For over eight years, Vazquez endured, even in the face of continual sexual assault.
Burned: You're fired! When two unsolicited visitors showed up at Rafael Rosales' home, they passed on a message, this time they were nice but next time wouldn't be so pleasant. Captured on video by Rosales' nephew, the unwelcome men weren't collecting on a debt, they were threatening Rosales because he sought to collect on his.
Burned: Injuries on the Job Restaurant kitchens are full of knives, ovens, and pots of boiling water. The federal government reports tens of thousands of workers are injured in the kitchen every year. A cop or a teacher might file a workers comp claim. But often, that's not how it works for dishwashers and cooks, and injuries can go unreported for fear of being fired.
Burned: Wage theft From cruelty-free meat, to the rise of celebrity chefs, diners are hungry for the storyline of their meals. However, while conscious eating is on the rise, there's no way to know how the cooks and kitchen workers are treated. Some don't get paid what they've earned, some work without overtime pay, some find their tips stolen, some work many hours off the clock.
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