National Day to Combat Modern Slave Labor in Brazil

A cattle ranch worker next to a cow.

On January 28th, Brazil marks the National Day to Combat Modern Slave Labor to raise public awareness of exploitative labor practices within the country. The date is significant as it was instituted in honor of labor inspectors who were assassinated in 2004 while investigating allegations of forced labor in the rural area of Unaí in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Forced labor in Brazil is believed to be most prevalent in rural agricultural areas where it is harder for Brazilian authorities to detect.

The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) recently received funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to implement a program to combat forced labor in the cattle ranching sector in the state of Pará, Brazil. One of the first objectives of the project is conducting a prevalence study of forced labor in the beef production supply chain in the Brazilian state of Pará. Located in Northern Brazil, Pará borders the Amazon rainforest, where deforestation of protected lands in the Amazon has been linked to clandestine cattle ranching operations. Since this will be the first prevalence study conducted of forced labor linked to the beef production chain in Pará, then it will serve as a guide for PADF’s work and will assist the Brazilian government, non-profit and private sector to understand the issues and challenges it presents.

PADF’s program focuses on the prevention, protection of victims, and prosecution of forced labor crimes. Activities during the first three years of implementation include presentations to disseminate the prevalence studies’ findings to key Brazilian national and local officials, NGOs and private stakeholders. Through these findings, PADF will partner with nongovernmental organizations and the local Brazilian government to improve support services for forced labor survivors. Outreach to populations susceptible to falling prey to forced labor in Pará will be conducted, as well as workshops on labor rights to these target audiences. Broader outreach activities will also be conducted to the general public in Pará through TV, print, and social media campaigns to raise awareness on how to identify, prevent, and respond to forced labor. PADF also will collaborate with private industry to strengthen their supply chains and ensure that they are free from forced labor.

Published on January 25, 2022.

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Combatting Forced Labor in the Cattle Ranching Industry in Pará, Brazil

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