Mato Grosso, the largest state in the Center-West region and one of Brazil’s major agricultural frontiers, leads the country in the number of workers released from slave labor.
They were set free by the Brazilian Ministry of Labor and Employment’s (MTE) mobile inspection groups. According to MTE data, 1,411 workers were freed last year in the state.
The problem in Mato Grosso is aggravated by the struggle over land and the number of one-crop landed estates that recruit labor from other states.
That is why the Land Pastoral Commission (CPT), coordinated by the Catholic Church, considers Mato Grosso to be the state with the greatest agrarian conflict in Brazil.
On February 8, an action by the MTE’s mobile inspection group was received with gunfire by the Mato Grosso Military Police. The confrontation drew a note of condemnation from the National Commission for the Eradication of slave Labor (CONATRAE), which decided to hold its next meeting in the state.
Moreover, the governor of the state, Blairo Maggi, was invited at the time to participate in a meeting to discuss the situation, avert new confrontations, and engage in a mutual planning process.
The Minister of the Special Secretariat of Human Rights (SEDH), Paulo de Tarso Vannuchi, and the minister of Labor and Employment, Luiz Marinho, travelled to Mato Grosso Tuesday, March 7, to discuss the situation with the governor.
"The state of Mato Grosso is a state with a high incidence of complaints. That explains the decision to hold the CONATRAE meeting in Cuiabá (the state capital), as we did in Imperatriz to discuss the situation in Maranhão," Vannuchi affirmed.
On March 28, the ministers will be together again in Mato Grosso at the meeting of the CONATRAE, which is linked to the SEDH. There they will discuss a joint action plan, involving the federal and state government and the state’s productive sector, to eradicate slave labor in Mato Grosso.
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