Since the beginning of the Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva administration in Brazil, in January 2002, a total of 7,014 workers have been freed from slave-type labor.
The problem of slave labor in Brazil is being discussed at a conference in Brasília that was opened yesterday by ministers Ricardo Berzoini (Labor), Miguel Rossetto (Agrarian Development) and Nilmario Miranda (Secretariat of Human Rights). The conference ends today.
Data from the International Labor Organization estimates the total of workers in slave-type labor situations in Brazil at between 25,000 and 40,000.
Rossetto and Miranda are of the opinion that the solution is congressional approval of a constitutional amendment (PEC) that will allow the government to expropriate property where slave-type labor occurs.
Miranda said the administration is working hard to get congressional approval of the measure as soon as possible.
Miranda went on to say that he was optimistic about the eradiction of slave-type labor in Brazil.
“This is a national problem and we have to deal with it nationwide,” said the minister, explaining that that was why the government had a National Eradication of Slave-Type Labor Plan which was implanted at the beginning of 2003.
The plan strengthens judicial and policing activities in the fight against slave-type labor. It also increases inspections of rural properties, besides running educational campaigns to make people aware of the problem.
Translator: Allen Bennett