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Modern-day Slavery in Brazil(17 images)

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  • Modern-day Slavery in Brazil / Eduardo Martino / Documentography.<br />
A worker who was being kept in degrading conditions escaped and went to look for help. His case was going to be delt by the Brazilian authorities, when the farmer heard his farm was about to be raided. He then sent all the workers away beforehand to avoid being fit in the law.
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  • Slavery in Brazil / Eduardo Martino / Documentography.<br />
When workers are offered jobs in faraway farms in the State of Para, they endure long trips in trucks. The trip is normally paid by the gato who got them the job. If the trip isn't paid by the gato it is because the worker went on his own to take a chance in Para. But he often has very little money on him so by the time he arrives in Para he will hang around in cheap hotels until a gato offers him work, pays the hotel bill and takes him to the farm where he will start to work already indebted, creating the basic condition for slavery.
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  • Slavery in Brazil / Eduardo Martino / Documentography.<br />
Barras in the state of Piaui is one the towns from where many workers leave to take their chances in other regions, typically in the state of Para. They are extremely poor and find no options locally. Jose Rodrigo de Souza Neto (37) has been recently rescued by the Grupo Movel under slavery conditions in a sugar-cane farm in Araraquara, Sao Paulo state. He and other 46 workers were enticed by a gato in Barras who organised a bus to take the workers to Sao Paulo. Before this case, Jose had been previously rescued by the Federal Police in a farm in Para, where he first went when he was around 16 years old. "from now on I will only leave home to take registered employment; no point in going to these places and find working conditions different than promised and get stuck there without money".
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  • Slavery in Brazil / Eduardo Martino / Documentography.The owner of a bar and grocery store in Acailandia. At the corner of his bar he keeps what he calls a community radio. Above his bar's ceiling there is a loudspeaker and the reach of his radio is how far people can hear the noisy sound of his old speaker. He says their main goal is to communicate to people the community's affairs, but it's well known locally that the radio is mostly used and supported by the 'gatos' (cats - due to their propensity to land on their feet), who use the 'radio' to recruit labourers to work in faraway farms for little or no pay. Due to widespread unemployment and poverty, many workers risk their lives and freedom to take work in neighbouring states on farms that use unfree labour. This form of modern-day slavery is implicated most often via a fraudulent debt, used as an excuse to keep workers in the farm while they owe money to the farmer. They are forced to buy everything, from tools to food, from the farmer's shop, at inflated prices. The debt is never cleared and the workers are effectively trapped.
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  • Maria Teixeira Mello has 8 children. Her 25 year old son Francisco has recently left to work in Para for the 4th time, leaving behind his wife, sister and children. Maria dislikes when he goes to work in farms in Para because "it can be very dangerous; some farmers don't pay; they make the workers work hard and when it's pay day they get no money and sometimes the farmers hire people to kill them. When our boys come back here they say that only they know what they went through, because they really risked their lives. Also the roads are terrible, there are thieves who rob them. Last time they came, a car loaded of people capsized and 13 people died."<br />
Photo: Eduardo Martino / documentography
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  • Modern-day Slavery in Brazil<br />
The furnaces of a charcoal producing farm on the edge of the Amazon rainforest. The Ministry of Labour's grupo movel (mobile unit), who work to end the use of unfree labour in the region, are developing a pioneering activity to assign responsibility for the slavery cases reported on such farms to the pig iron producing companies, as the charcoal is made to be sold exclusively to these extremely profitable companies.
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  • Modern-day slavery in Brazil A worker at a charcoal producing farm on the edge of the Amazon rainforest. The Ministry of Labour's grupo movel (mobile unit), who work to end the use of unfree labour in the region, are developing a pioneering activity to assign responsibility for the slavery cases reported on such farms to the pig iron producing companies, as the charcoal is made to be sold exclusively to these extremely profitable companies.<br />
Photo: Eduardo Martino / documentography
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  • Modern-day Slavery in Brazil<br />
An area of deforestation on the border of the Amazon rainforest burned down to produce charcoal and to grow soybeans or raise cattle. The Ministry of Labour's grupo movel (mobile unit), who work to end the use of unfree labour in the region, are developing a pioneering activity to assign responsibility for the slavery cases reported on such farms to the pig iron producing companies, as the charcoal is made to be sold exclusively to these extremely profitable companies.
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  • MOdern-day Slavery in Brazil<br />
62 year old worker known as "Seu Manezinho" shows his hands which have seen a lifetime of work and are missing a finger. He was one of several workers trapped in a farm in south Para where labourers were working in unfree labour conditions without any employment contract, legal status or benefits. Due to widespread unemployment and poverty, many workers risk their lives and freedom to take work in neighbouring states on farms that use unfree labour. This form of modern-day slavery is implicated most often via a fraudulent debt, used as an excuse to keep workers in the farm while they owe money to the farmer. They are forced to buy everything, from tools to food, from the farmer's shop, at inflated prices. The debt is never cleared and the workers are effectively trapped.<br />
Photo: Eduardo Martino / documentography
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  • Modern-day Slavery in Brazil<br />
A member of a local timber union inspects the trees that were logged down in a farm in south Para.
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  • Modern-day Slavery in Brazil<br />
A worker recently escaped from slave-like labour conditions on a farm in Para shows the Ministry of Labour's grupo movel (mobile unit) the way into the farm. It is vital that an ex-worker accompanies the Grupo Movel, as locations are often very remote and difficult to access, but for safety reasons the worker must conceal his identity. Due to widespread unemployment and poverty, many workers risk their lives and freedom to take work in neighbouring states on farms that use unfree labour. This form of modern-day slavery is implicated most often via a fraudulent debt, used as an excuse to keep workers in the farm while they owe money to the farmer. They are forced to buy everything, from tools to food, from the farmer's shop, at inflated prices. The debt is never cleared and the workers are effectively trapped.
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  • Modern-day Slavery in Brazil<br />
The Federal Police and the Ministry of Labour's grupo movel (mobie unit) inspectors during an operation in whch they raided a charcoal producing farm. Due to widespread unemployment and poverty, many workers risk their lives and freedom to take work in neighbouring states on farms that use unfree labour. This form of modern-day slavery is implicated most often via a fraudulent debt, used as an excuse to keep workers in the farm while they owe money to the farmer. They are forced to buy everything, from tools to food, from the farmer's shop, at inflated prices. The debt is never cleared and the workers are effectively trapped. The Federal Police and Ministry of Labour work to try and break this cycle of exploitation by raiding farms whenever they receive a tip-off that workers are being mistreated.
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  • Modern-day Slavery in Brazil<br />
Guns confiscated by the Federal Police during a raid at a farm in South Para. Due to widespread unemployment and poverty, many workers risk their lives and freedom to take work in neighbouring states on farms that use unfree labour. This form of modern-day slavery is implicated most often via a fraudulent debt, used as an excuse to keep workers in the farm while they owe money to the farmer. They are forced to buy everything, from tools to food, from the farmer's shop, at inflated prices. The debt is never cleared and the workers are effectively trapped. The Federal Police and Ministry of Labour work to try and break this cycle of exploitation by raiding farms whenever they receive a tip-off that workers are being mistreated.
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  • Modern-day Slavery in Brazil<br />
A worker and his wife celebrate the arrival of the Ministry of Labour's grupo movel (mobile unit) in the charcoal producing farm where they had been living and working. Even when workers are not kept in completely miserable conditions they often welcome the grupo movel's presence because they know that their legal rights will be guaranteed. In this farm the workers are kept in degrading conditions without holidays, breaks, sanitation, drinking water or proper food. The manager deducts the costs of everything, from tools to food, from the workers salaries, so when the grupo movel analyses their situation, they always receive fair amounts of cash related to the time they worked in irregular conditions.<br />
Photo: Eduardo Martino / documentography
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  • Modern-day Slavery in Brazil<br />
Labourers unload a truck of charcoal at a pig-iron factory. The managers of this company were arrested after the Ministry of Labour's inspector's found 50 truckloads of illegal charcoal on the company's premises. The Ministry of Labour is also developing a pioneering activity to assign responsibility for the slavery cases reported on many charcoal producing farms to the pig iron producing companies, as the charcoal is made to be sold exclusively to these extremely profitable companies
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  • Modern-day Slavery in Brazil<br />
A farm manager sits in the Ministry of Labour offices after his charcoal producing farm was raided by the Ministry's grupo movel (mobile unit) for employing unfree labourers. The Ministry of Labour is developing a pioneering activity to assign responsibility for the slavery cases reported on such farms to the pig iron producing companies, as the charcoal is made to be sold exclusively to these extremely profitable companies. The managers of this company were arrested the following day, as the Federal Police found over 50 truckloads of illegal charcoal on the company's premises, destined for pig iron production.
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  • Modern-day Slavery in Brazil<br />
47 year old Raimunda Barbosa Monteiro worked for eight years as a cook during Para State's gold mining boom of the 1980s. She contracted leprosy, and lost three toes, due to the poor hygiene standards and the working conditions of the gold mines. In 2002 she was hired to work as a cook at the Boa Vista farm in south Para. There was no contract and the salary was 170 Reais (34 GBP) per month, to cook for a team of workers clearing the fields. But she never received the full salary. For periods of up to five months she would receive no money at all and if she asked for the money she would be told that there was none to give. She worked seven days a week staying for up to four months without a single day of break, all the time unable to see her son who lived not far from the farm. She was the only woman living in a hut with four other (male) workers without any sanitation. Privacy was almost impossible and the workers would supplement their diet of rice and beans with anything they could kill. Often there would be no food in the morning and the workers would have to go to work on an empty stomach. Raimunda once told the farmer that the workers were shaking of hunger but he did nothing for them. There was no medical support and she never had her skin condition checked while in that farm. The Federal Police raided the farm and rescued the workers. The farmer was forced to pay her 9.100 reais (1.820 pounds) of unpaid salaries.<br />
Photo: Eduardo Martino / documentography
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