Slaves in Paradise – A Priest Stands Up for Exploited Sugarcane Workers
Ignatius Press, 304 pages
The Dominican Republic is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean. Yet when missionary priest Fr. Christopher Hartley arrived there in 1997, he discovered another side to this paradise: the deplorable living and working conditions of the people who harvest the country’s sugarcane, and the illegal human trafficking that brings them to the plantations as slaves. Inspired by the Gospels and Mother Teresa, Fr. Hartley carried out intense evangelization, applying the social teachings of the Church to fight for their dignity and justice.
Reading this book could change your eating habits. It’s estimated that the average American consumes as much as 170 pounds of sugar per year. It tells the story of Father Christopher Hartley, who left New York in 1997 to work as a missionary priest in the Dominican Republic.
Not only did Fr. Hartley bring the sacraments, but he also became an advocate for
the poor and the exploited sugarcane workers there. His background working with St. Teresa of Calcutta prepared him for his work and advocacy standing up against the sugar barons and politicians that eventually led to death threats and his being forced from the country. The book features many of Fr. Hartley’s inspiring letters to friends and benefactors detailing the heart- wrenching stories of the people he served and the injustices and conditions they endured.