Brazil Frees 28,000 From Slave Labor

Author: Prensa Latina
People’s Weekly World Newspaper, 07/01/09 08:25

More than 28,000 Brazilians have been rescued from conditions of modern slavery since 2003, according to figures of the Department of Work Inspection (STI) of the Ministry of Work and Employment, informed sources here.

Detection and rescue of Brazilians from this degrading form of work is the task of the Special Mobile Legal Group of STI, and statistics point to farm and agricultural activities as top perpetrators of this kind of labor force.

To free this number of Brazilians from slave labor, the Mobile Group has made 1,470 interventions since 2003 in agriculture, livestock, the lumber industry and mining, reported in STI statistics.

It specifies that from January to the present, the Mobile Group rescued 1,120 persons from this situation in which the largest number are in the states of Pernambuco (329) followed by 296 in Tocantis, Para (119) and Minas Gerais (99).

In addition to rescuing exploited workers auditors of the Mobil Group are in charge of preparing a report and gathering documents to allow future legal processes regarding work and activities in the commission of these crimes.

Since 1995 when the Brazilian government of the time became aware of the existence of slave labor in the country, its elimination became a priority task of the administration of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

During the presence of the Brazilian leader in the International Labor Organization headquarters he signed a commitment to put an end to this scourge before 2015.

Work Inspection Secretary, Ruth Vileta, pointed out that advances are significant but pointed to the need for public policies to prevent and punish slave labor employers.

She added that when we assume commitments to eliminate undesirable and illegal policies we must first act to prevent these actions from occurring, and compared it to the challenge of public health that cannot be merely for curing but also preventive.