By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – After almost three years without being updated due to a legal dispute between the government and the Public Prosecutor’s Office (MPT), the “Lista Suja” (“Dirty List”) was published last week with 68 employers identified as submitting their employees to situations analogous to slavery.
In 2014, the dirty list of slave labor ceased to be updated after then Federal Supreme Court (STF) President Ricardo Lewandowski granted an injunction at the request of the Brazilian Association of Real Estate Developers to suspend disclosure.
Now updated again, according to the list, from 2011 until the end of last year, 503 workers are in degrading work situations. The total refers only to cases in which there was an administrative decision punishing employers without possibility of appeal.
Most of the irregularities were recorded on farms, 45 in total. The labor investigators also found workers subjected to the situation similar to slavery in the branches of civil construction and charcoal and in the timber industry. In all, nine construction companies appear on the list.
“This list of transparency comes to spell out names of employers and companies that have engaged in slave labor, but the dirty list has a greater power of repression to this crime, because those on this second list are barred from receiving funding from public banks or selling their products For companies that are part of a pact to eradicate slave labor,” said Pastoral Land Commission agent Evandro Rodrigues.
Among the list was lawyer and rural farmer Luiz Alfredo Feresin de Abreu, brother of Senator Kátia Abreu (PMDB), cited with a total, 19 irregularities verified at the Fazenda Roma, cattle ranching, located in Vila Rica, 1,276 km from Cuiabá. Abreu said that he will go to court to have his name removed from the list.
“Although the deprivation of liberty is one of the motives of slave labor, it is a set of situations that take the worker from that minimum level of dignity that he would be entitled to,” explains Lilian Resende, of the Ministry of Labor.
Despite the legal battle over defining ‘slave labor‘, in January 2016 the Ministry of Labor and Social Security announced the rescue of 1,010 workers in 2015 who were in conditions analogous to slavery.
The 140 operations carried out by the Special Mobile Inspection Task Force and labor inspectors identified workers in this situation in ninety of the 257 supervised establishments, according to a statement.
According to the report last January, keeping the trend of 2014, more and more of the victims of slave labor in Brazil were located in urban areas, which concentrated 61 percent of the cases (607 workers in 85 actions). In 55 operations in the rural area, 403 people were identified.