Two teams from the Special Mobile Inspection Group of the Ministry of Labor and Employment freed 90 workers this week who were living in slave-like conditions. In the Airport Ranch, in the municipality of Sinop, in the state of Mato Grosso, 53 persons were discovered living in subhuman conditions.
Three of them were children digging up roots. The workers who were freed were living in miserable housing, with bad food and without signed working papers. Three weapons were also found in the locale.
In the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception ranch, in the municipality of Formoso do Rio Preto, 37 workers were also freed, two of them minors under 18 years of age.
Everything they consumed was bought on the ranch, where the prices were higher than normal, which charaterizes a debt cycle among the workers.
The supervisor of the Federal Police, Pablo Camargo Nezzedimi, brought a suit accusing the owners of the ranches of reducing the workers’ conditions to slavery, forming a gang, and false recruitment of labor.
Earlier this month, Brazilian experts and members of the International Labor Organization (ILO) began their evaluation of the commitments and application of declarations of basic labor principles and rights in Brazil, as well as in the context of Mercosur integration.
The items on the agenda included the campaign against slave-like and child labor, discrimination in the workplace, and respect for labor union freedom.
The goal is to obtain an evaluation of the degree of compliance with the national plan of labor commitments, fruit of the Mercosur’s regional integration agreement, and especially the application of the ILO’s Declaration and the observance of basic labor rights.
The discussions should provide elements for the 14th International Conference of Ministers of Labor, scheduled for Argentina, in November, 2005.
According to Armand Pereira, director of the ILO in Brazil, the Brazilian Ministry of Labor has done a significant job in the area of work and employment. As to slave-like labor, he believes that the Brazilian government has been making meaningful efforts to combat it.
Evaluation by the ILO is one of the items determined by the 13th International Conference of Ministers of Labor, held in Salvador, Bahia, in 2003. In November of this year, it was Peru’s turn to be inspected. The report will be available in January, 2005.