Between 25,000 and 40,000 workers in Brazil are employed in situations analogous to slavery according to the ILO, the International Labor Organization. According to their report, titled ”Slave Labor in Brasil in the 21st century,” the practice is particularly extended in the agricultural regions bordering the Amazon jungle, where many people live in ”a situation of extreme vulnerability and misery.”
Brazil recognized the existence of slave labor in 1992 before the ILO and in 2004 before the United Nations, and since then thousands of people have been rescued from this situation (between 1995 and 2005, a total of 17,983 workers were liberated by authorities). Most are men, between the ages of 18 and 40, who migrate from the north and northeast of the country to look for work, and end up being exploited. According to Leonardo Sakamoto, coordinator of the study, maps show that plantations have expanded in the same areas that the workers were liberated.
The report defines slave labor as a state of employment in which employers cover costs of transportation, clothing, food and shelter, make the costs as debt and later deduct the costs from the wages of workers. The report states that in spite of the work of the state to recue workers, there needs to be greater punishment for employers found to be keeping workers in a state of slavery, legislation for which met with resistence in congress, according to the report.