A survey by the Public Ministry of Labor (MPT) shows that at least 1,671 workers were rescued from slavery in 2021. All these rescues were carried out in joint operations with the participation of the MPT. According to the agency itself, the total number of redemptions in 2021 may be even higher, if statistical data to be disclosed by other public agencies are considered.
In just one of the operations, carried out in October 2021, 116 people were rescued by the national mobile group. They worked in the harvesting of straw for cigarettes at the Souza Paiol company. The rescue took place on a farm in Água Fria de Goiás (GO), 140 kilometers from Brasília.
Among the operations carried out, the bodies inspected different sectors of the economy, such as the extraction of carnauba, coffee and sugar cane plantations, mining, charcoal and quarries, civil construction and sewing workshops. They participated in the operations of the national mobile group, such as the Labor Tax Audit, linked to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, the Federal Public Ministry, the Federal Public Defender’s Office, the Federal Police and the Federal Highway Police.
One of the types of slave labor most identified by the MPT in urban areas was domestic slave labor, with black women as the main victims. The agency also points to a 2019 study by the Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea), which shows that more than 6 million Brazilians are engaged in domestic services. Of this total, 92% are women – mostly black, with low education and from low-income families.
In the MPT’s assessment, the increase in complaints of slave labor in the sector is due to the empowerment of the category of domestic workers over the last decade, among other factors.
The MPT also announced an agreement this week with municipalities to promote courses for the assistance network for victims of slave labor. The project is aimed at professionals from the municipal social assistance network and other professionals who assist victims of slave labor and human trafficking, such as technicians and servants in health, human rights and public safety.
So far, the municipalities of Porto Alegre, Caxias do Sul, Novo Hamburgo, Passo Fundo, Pelotas, Vacaria, Venâncio Aires, located in Rio Grande do Sul, and Niterói, in Rio de Janeiro, have signed a protocol of intentions with the MPT. In addition, the MPT is in the process of formalizing a partnership with five more municipalities in Rio de Janeiro: Campos dos Goytacazes, Duque de Caxias, Paracambi, Rio de Janeiro and São Francisco de Itabapoana.