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.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

CHILE / 4 JUN 2013

Officials have revealed details of new trends concerning human trafficking in Chile, as this otherwise relatively safe country's strong economy…

BRAZIL / 31 JUL 2017

Brazil's defense minister has announced a new phase of security operations in Rio de Janeiro that will involve a…

BRAZIL / 31 JAN 2018

Cigarettes manufactured by a firm belonging to the family of Paraguay's president have once again been seized after being…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…