HomeNewsBriefSweatshop Raid Raises Concerns Over Peru to Brazil Human Trafficking
BRIEF

Sweatshop Raid Raises Concerns Over Peru to Brazil Human Trafficking

BRAZIL / 13 MAR 2014 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Authorities in Brazil have rescued 17 Peruvians from slave-like conditions in a textile workshop in São Paulo, leading officials to warn Peru may become the country's next major source of forced labor.

The authorities were alerted to the situation after two of the workers escaped. While one of them was recaptured, the other reported the workshop owner to the Peruvian consulate, reported O Globo.

A site inspection revealed the workers -- among them minors -- were working 17-hour days stitching clothes for a local fashion chain.

The Peruvians were mainly young adults recruited from the towns of Arequipa, Cuzco and Puno with promises of well-paid jobs. On arrival, the workers found themselves locked into debt bondage as they were told they had to pay back the costs of their travel.

While some workers later began to earn a small wage -- about $10 a week -- the workshop owners still retained their identity documents, kept them under surveillance and restricted their movements.

The Peruvian owner of the workshop has been arrested, reported EBC.

InSight Crime Analysis

In recent years, Brazil has earned a reputation as a hub of "slave labor," which Brazilian law defines as "forced labor or labor performed during exhausting work days or in degrading working conditions." According to the Walk Free Foundation's Global Slavery Index, as many as 220,000 people work in such conditions in the country.

The majority of these workers are Brazilian nationals, who are recruited to work in rural areas in sectors such as cattle ranching, mining and logging or in construction and the service sector in urban areas.

However, foreigners are also imported, especially, as in this case, to work in garment factories and textile sweatshops in and around São Paulo. According to the US State Department (pdf), commonly trafficked nationalities include Bolivians, Paraguayans, Peruvians and Chinese.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Slavery

According to the superintendent of the São Paulo Ministry of Labor, Luiz Antonio de Medeiros, Bolivia is currently the primary source country for such forced labor, but there are signs indicating Peru may soon become a major recruitment center for human trafficking to Brazil.

Medeiros offered as evidence a 21 percent leap in Peruvian workers migrating to São Paulo in 2013. As more Peruvians look to escape poverty in their home country, the pool of people potentially vulnerable to the empty promises of recruiters is growing.

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

HUMAN TRAFFICKING / 26 SEP 2014

Peru has announced plans to hire four special prosecutors to investigate cases of human trafficking, a crime concentrated in regions…

BRAZIL / 5 JUN 2018

Authorities in Brazil have seized documents shedding new light on the expanding finances, membership and international reach of the country's…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 5 MAR 2018

Even without significant investment in border security, weapons and narcotics seizures along Brazil's borders have increased over the last year,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…