85-year-old woman is rescued after 72 years of working in conditions analogous to slavery

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Cases of exploitation of people subjected to working conditions analogous to slavery are still recorded in Brazil 134 years after the abolition of slavery.

An 85-year-old woman was rescued after working for the same family for 72 years. Born in Vassouras, in the Center-South of the state of Rio de Janeiro, the lady worked for the same family since she was 12 years old, for three generations. She served every day, with no opportunity for study, vacation or salary.

According to information from the Ministry of Labor and Welfare, the case was considered the longest exploitation of a person in a situation of contemporary slavery in the country, since Brazil created an inspection system to face this type of crime, in May 1995. From According to the agency, in the last 27 years, 58,166 people were rescued by the government.

The action that rescued the unidentified woman began on September 21, 2021. On May 5, the operation was completed. However, the process has not yet ended, as the payment of the victim’s wages and arrears is still under negotiation.

The rescue was carried out by the Regional Labor Superintendence of Rio and the Public Ministry of Labor and accompanied by the Integrated Action program. The victim has been in a public shelter under social assistance since her rescue last week.

According to the Ministry of Labor and Welfare, in 2022, 495 workers were rescued in the country. Of this total, five women were rescued from domestic slave labor in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Paraíba, Bahia, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro. Other actions remain in progress.

Of the 1,930 people in slavery rescued in the country in 2021, 27 victims were in domestic service. In 2020, there were only three.

Since 1940, slave labor has become a crime in the country. Four elements can define contemporary slavery:

  • forced labor: which involves curtailment of the right to come and go
  • debt bondage: bondage tied to debt, often fraudulent
  • degrading conditions: work that denies human dignity, putting health at risk
  • exhausting journey: leading the worker to complete exhaustion given the intensity of exploitation, also putting health and life at risk

Source: CNN Brasil

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