52 Brazilians rescued from slave-like conditionsFebruary 2nd, 2012 - 12:23 pm ICT by IANS
Rio de Janeiro, Feb 2 (IANS/EFE) Brazilian authorities Wednesday rescued 52 farm workers who were being held in slave-like conditions on three ranches in the Amazon state of Para, the government said.
Four of the workers were minors - a 15-year-old girl who worked as a cook and boys aged 13, 14 and 16 who cut wood or worked in the fields, the labor ministry said in a statement.
Workers were living with their children in seven canvas tents that had been erected on the rural properties.
The ministry imposed fines totalling 168,900 reais ($97,630), which the ranch owners are to pay to the workers.
Brazilian authorities last year rescued 2,271 workers subjected to degrading conditions in 158 operations, meting out a total of 5.4 million reais ($3.1 million) in fines.
The government also maintains a “black list” of 294 companies that have been denounced for holding workers in slave-like conditions.
The list is publicly available and prevents those companies from applying for loans at public-sector banks.
Several industries and exporters’ and supermarket associations also use the list to crack down on the sale of products from companies that use slave labour.
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Tags: 1 million, amazon, brazilian authorities, brazilians, canvas tents, degrading conditions, efe, feb 2, labor ministry, loans, old girl, public sector banks, rio de janeiro, rural properties, slave labour, supermarket