HomeNewsBriefBrazil Frees Nearly 3,000 Slaves
BRIEF

Brazil Frees Nearly 3,000 Slaves

BRAZIL / 14 MAY 2013 BY MIRIAM WELLS EN

Brazilian authorities rescued almost 3,000 people from conditions of slavery in 2012, as the country continues to strengthen its efforts to tackle the entrenched practice.

The freeing of 2,849 people, announced by the Labor Ministry on its website, represents an increase of 14.4 percent on the year before.

The Amazonian state of Para, where pig iron suppliers are known to use charcoal produced through forced labor, saw the greatest number of people freed - 563, of whom 150 were working for an iron producer. A total of 495 people were rescued from two other Amazonian states, Tocantins and Amazonas. In Parana state, also home to sub-tropical forest, 256 people were rescued, mostly from a sugarcane liquor plant.

Urban workers were also rescued - 239 in São Paulo state, 92 of whom were working in civil construction. 

Brasil-Slavery

InSight Crime Analysis

Brazil was the last country in the hemisphere to abolish slavery in 1888, and continues to have huge problems with forced labor. Estimates of the number of people working in slave-like conditions range between 25,000 and 40,000, typically on cattle ranches, sugarcane plantations, large farms producing corn, cotton, soy and charcoal, and in logging and mining, according to the US State Department. A Greenpeace investigation last year found car manufacturers Ford, GM and BMW were using pig iron (a major Brazilian export) made with charcoal obtained through slave labor and illegal logging in Para state.

The location of those freed last year indicates that forced labor in charcoal production is still in full swing - likewise the use of slaves in Amazonian cattle ranches and sugarcane plantations in south-central Brazil, where more than 90 percent of sugarcane is produced. The government has made important strides towards combating the practice, such as strengthening the penalties for employers found to be using slave labor to allow for the expropiation of land, and upping the number of rescue operations. However the State Department noted in its most recent Trafficking in Persons report that there are very few prosecutions of employers, and a 2011 study suggested those rescued represented only around 13 percent of the country's total slaves.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BRAZIL / 30 AUG 2021

Police in Brazil have broken up a smuggling ring that had a curious modus operandi. For years, its divers strapped…

BRAZIL / 28 JUN 2022

Prosecutors, mayors, prison directors, relatives of officials - are assassinations here to stay in Paraguay?…

BRAZIL / 8 MAR 2021

Criminal dynamics in Brazil, particularly its drug trafficking routes, have been shaken up in recent years by the rapid expansion…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…