A nationally renowned drug rehab program in Texas and Louisiana has sent patients struggling with addiction to work for free for some of the biggest companies in America, likely in violation of federal labor law.
The Cenikor Foundation has dispatched tens of thousands of patients to work without pay at more than 300 for-profit companies over the years. In the name of rehabilitation, patients have moved boxes in a sweltering warehouse for Walmart, built an oil platform for Shell and worked at an Exxon refinery along the Mississippi River.
“It’s like the closest thing to slavery,” said Logan Tullier, a former Cenikor participant who worked 10 hours per day at oil refineries, laying steel rebar in 115-degree heat. “We were making them all the money.”
They worked in sweltering heat for Exxon, Shell and Walmart. They didn’t get paid a dime
Constant work leaves little time for counseling or treatment, transforming rehab patients into a cheap, expendable labor pool for private companies.
Amy Julia Harris and Shoshana Walter,