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Soy Cultivation Is Bearing Slavery in Brazil, Says Report

The report "Eating the Amazon," released by the Greenpeace International non-government organization shows that, besides devastating the forest, the advance of soybean production in the Brazilian Amazon stimulates the exploitation of slave labor in the region.

That’s because poor residents of rural areas and urban peripheries are taken to remote Amazon regions to perform slave labor in areas of illegal deforestation.

One of the recommendations made by Greenpeace International in its report is for the US multinational corporations, Cargill, Bunge, and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), to sign the National Pact to Eradicate Slave Labor.

The idea is for these companies to pledge to buy soybeans only from farms with legal property deeds, without illegal deforestation, and without the use of slave labor.

"The states in the Amazon that are in the vanguard of soybean expansion also rank at the top of the sad Brazilian statistics reporting cases of slave labor on ranches, fields, and forest areas," says the report.

The advance of soybean production also does harm to indigenous populations and traditional communities forced to abandon the lands where they live to make way for farming operations.

The pollution caused by the intensive use of pesticides in soybean monocultural plantations also causes damage to the rural population, Greenpeace asserts.

According to the environmental activist organization, "the villains of the Brazilian soybean industry are the three US multinationals in the agribusiness sector: Cargill, Bunge, and Archer Daniel Midland (ADM).

The companies offer advantages, such as credit and a guaranteed market, to the farmers, "giving them incentives and resources to buy and clear huge extensions of land in order to make soybean production profitable."

With respect to slave labor, the study points to the association between the multinationals and soybean farms where this type of labor is employed.

One of them is the Roncador Farm in Querência, Mato Grosso state, where, between 1998 and 2004, government inspectors freed 215 workers subjected to slave conditions, according to Greenpeace.

"Although the owners of the farm are being sued, the Roncador farm continues to plant soybeans for the market. Both Cargill and Bunge set up operations in Querência, and Bunge registered exports from the region in 2005," the document charges.

Agência Brasil

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  • Show Comments (3)

  • Guest

    “But is not the Brazilian government and justice responsibilty that laws must be applied ? “

    One would certainly think so!!! Especially when the ILLEGAL ACTIVITY is taking place IN BRAZIL!

  • Guest

    shameful….Greenpeace !
    What about all the sugar cane plantations now that generates ethanol ?

    Doesnt this industry creates far more slaves than soy producers.Around 50 % of the harvest of the sugar cane is made by hand by sugar cane cutters, And only during the harvest season do they get a job !

    Not a word on this subject ! Normal ! Soya price is out of favor and sugar price is booming ! Correct ?
    And the U.S. companies mentionned are guilty ? correct ?

    Here is an part of an anrticle…..saying the opposite :
    But with oil prices soaring, the four international giants that control much of the world’s agribusiness – Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge and Born, Cargill and Louis Dreyfuss – have recently begun showing interest.

    Brazil says those and other outsiders are welcome.

    Of course they are responsible for the slaves in soya plantations but then who is reponsible for the far bigger numbers of slaves in sugar cane plantations ?
    No one can YET name these companies responsible, they just started to show an interest !
    By whom is Greenpeace unnofficially financed to publish these stupid reports ????

  • Guest

    Strange !
    But is not the Brazilian government and justice responsibilty that laws must be applied ?
    And dont the Brazilian government, through the BNDES provides loans to the farmers.
    And is it not to the Brazilian justice, to put in jail, anyone who uses slaves ?
    You freed, apparently, several hundreds slaves, last year only ! Correct ?

    How many landowners have been put in jail ???

    NONE !

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