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  • Brazilian slave laborers stop their work to listen to a Labor Ministry inspector explain their legal rights, on the Bom Jesus farm in the Amazon basin in 2003.

    Brazilian slave laborers stop their work to listen to a Labor Ministry inspector explain their legal rights, on the Bom Jesus farm in the Amazon basin in 2003. | Photo: Reuters

Pro-labor groups in Brazil released the annual list of companies fined by the government for keeping employees in slave-like conditions. 

The Brazilian Institute to Eradicate Slave Labor (InPACTO) released on Friday an updated list of 340 Brazilian companies fined by the Ministry of Labor for keeping employees in slave-like conditions, during the two year period from 2013-2015. 

Through the Access to Information Act, Reporter Brasil and InPACTO, released the list in efforts to, “enforce society’s right to transparency regarding corporate labor practices.”  

“Brazilian society depends on official and reliable information about the activities of the Ministry of Labour in monitoring and combating modern-day slave labor in Brazil,” Reporter Brasil said in a press release on Friday. 

Launched in November 2003, the list of companies with exploitative labor practices, also known as the "Dirty List," includes the names of companies that use slave labor. 

If after two years a company pays all its fines and proves that it has remedied working conditions, it is removed from the list. Blacklisted employers are blocked from receiving government loans and have restrictions placed on sales of their products. They also undergo private sector boycotts, as more than 400 banks and companies have signed the National Slave Eradication pact of 2005, pledging not to do business with blacklisted employers.

However, despite efforts by activists, the fight against slave labor suffered a setback in December 2014, when the Brazilian Supreme Court ordered the Labor Ministry to suspend the release of the blacklist.

Months after the Supreme Court Ruling, the Ministry of Work and Labor created a new list, backed by the Brazilian Access to Information Law, featuring the same content. 

“Free information is critical for companies and other institutions to develop their corporate social responsibility policies,” Reporter Brasil said on Friday in response to the Supreme court decision.   

Brazilian officials have rescued over 50,000 people from working in slavery since 1995, with 10,000 of those between 2011 and 2015 alone, according to government data. 

Brazil has about 200,000 people working as modern day slaves, according to the International Labor Organization. 

WATCH: Mexico: Agricultural day laborers organize for improved conditions

 

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