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Latino Daily News

Thursday February 2, 2012

52 Brazilians Found to be Working as ‘Slaves’ in Amazon Region

52 Brazilians Found to be Working as ‘Slaves’ in Amazon Region

Photo: Brazil Slaves Found

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Brazilian authorities on Wednesday rescued 52 farm workers who were being held in slave-like conditions on three ranches in the Amazon state of Para, the government said.

Four of the workers were minors - a 15-year-old girl who worked as a cook and boys aged 13, 14 and 16 who cut wood or worked in the fields, the Labor Ministry said in a statement.

Workers were living with their children in seven canvas tents that had been erected on the rural properties.

The ministry imposed fines totaling 168,900 reais ($97,630), which the ranch owners are to pay as damages to the workers.

Brazilian authorities last year rescued 2,271 workers subjected to degrading conditions in 158 operations, meting out a total of 5.4 million reais ($3.1 million) in fines.

The government also maintains a “black list” of 294 companies that have been denounced for holding workers in slave-like conditions.

The list is publicly available and prevents those companies from applying for loans at public-sector banks.

Several industries and exporters’ and supermarket associations also use the list to crack down on the sale of products from companies that use slave labor.