RIO DE JANEIRO, Jun 20 2012 (IPS) – Today, in the 21st century, there are still tens of thousands of Brazilians subjected to slave-like working conditions. Last year alone, 2,501 workers were freed from this situation by Ministry of Labour inspectors.
The approval of Constitutional Amendment Proposal (PEC) 438/2001 by the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies on May 22, after a ten-year wait, was cause for celebration throughout the country. PEC 438 would allow the government to confiscate the property of owners caught using slave labour. The property confiscated would be turned over to the government’s agrarian reform programme, in the case of rural land, or to social initiatives in cities, since the amendment also provides for the seizure of urban real estate.