In a now-deleted TikTok video from @howdydewdrop, a rancher admits how she requested day laborers from a local prison. The video has since been deleted, as it caused quite the storm in the comments and stitches, but was still reposted on many TikTok accounts before being erased forever.
The video shows a woman in a cowboy hat, smiling and laughing with a caption of “Literally just called the prison to ask for day laborers.” Many had an immediate problem with this, stitching the video to share their concerns. ” TikTok user @Ispeak1906, who is known for his posts calling out racism or other injustices on TikTok, was quick to repost the video and share his comments.
He starts by saying: “So you as a white woman called the prison for day laborers? Interesting.” Other people agree in the comments, and one person even noted that when they worked in a homeless shelter, people would “offer to pay for clients, not pay them, pay us for them. People are horrific.”
In another response to the video, TikTok user @_anastasiagracia_ asks how it is legal that people can call for laborers for the day from people who are in prison, who typically have no rights. She asks “Are they getting paid? This literally sounds like slavery.” Other people in the comments noted how this is, unfortunately, completely legal. The 13th amendment illegalizes slavery, unless in the case of punishment for a crime. Many people wonder how you could ever feel comfortable enough to not only ask for this, but to post it on TikTok for likes, as if the situation was humorous.
#stitch with @howdydewdrop
TikTok user @nubian912 reacts, saying “Every day I lose faith in you people. Every single day.” Though as mentioned, the original video was taken down, this has sparked conversation around not only the legality of prisoners being free laborers but also the morality of it as well. And though it was not confirmed if the original TikToker was able to have the prisoners work for her, it still opened the conversation around the ethics of prisons and the labor laws within them.