Brazil Has A Brilliant Approach To Ending Modern-Day Slavery

Brazil slavesRickey Rogers/ReutersBrazilian slave laborers stop their work cutting down forest to listen to a Labour Ministry inspector explain their legal rights, on the Bom Jesus farm in the Amazon basin, some 1,600 kilometers (994 miles) north of Brasilia.

Brazil has embraced an aggressive approach to combating modern-day slavery, including making supply chains more transparent, according to the new Global Slavery Index.

Brazil’s government even has a so-called dirty list publicly naming companies that profit from slave labour.

By the end of 2013, 380 corporations, accounting for 30% of Brazil’s gross national product, had signed onto the
National Pact for the Eradication of Slave Labour, the report states.

Members of the Pact use the government’s bi-annual “lista suja” or “dirty list” to identify suppliers with slavery in their supply chains. The list includes 609 people and businesses that risk
economic and legal sanctions if they don’t change their practices.

In May 2012, Brazil amended its constitution to allow the government to take property from those who benefit from slave labour.
Mobile inspection squads now travel around the country identifying and freeing victims of forced labour. The
Special Mobile Groups of Inspection rescued 2,254 workers in 2013, according to the report.

Brazilian law enforcement officials still struggle to identify victims, particularly those being trafficked for sexual exploitation, the report states.

Human trafficking is a top priority for the Brazilian government as the country draws more migrants who might be vulnerable to exploitation, according to the International Centre for Migration Policy Development.

The Index ranks 167 countries based on the per cent of a country’s population that is estimated to be in modern slavery. Brazil is ranked 143rd, with 155,300 people, or .078% of its population, currently subjected to forced labour and sexual exploitation.

Modern-day slavery can take the form of human trafficking, forced labour, debt bondage, forced or servile marriage, and the sale and exploitation of children.

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