Slave labor is prominent in many parts of Brazil and therefore anti-slavery operations have been quite active in rescuing the migrants who are generally held as slaves in various households. While there has been much improvement in uncovering undocumented workers, it has become more of a challenge for the government to provide basic rights to these migrants upon rescue.
With no proper documentation and no visas, these rescued slave labor cannot avail the state government benefits and compensation. They have no bank accounts due to lack of paperwork, and cannot be bestowed with hefty cash due to security reasons. Therefore, now the labor inspectors are trying hard to find ways to devise the best possible solutions for them, such as providing accounts for them to give them their compensation.
‘Operation Rescue’ a milestone for uncovering hundreds of Slave Labor
The Brazilian government achieved a milestone last month when they rescued dozens of slave labor after a series of coordinated anti-trafficking raids in the country. Among those, there was also a maid who was enslaved for decades by a family. In “Operation Rescue”, about 140 slavery victims were rescued, and most of them were found in rural areas in Sao Paolo, the largest city of Brazil. The slave labor was mostly engaged in domestic work, and in sweatshops. Romulo Machado e Silva, from Brazil’s Labor Inspector’s office, said that the operation was the country’s biggest joint anti-slavery operation.
Two Bolivian Slave Labor Compensated But No Bank Accounts to Transfer Amount
Last year, in Brazil, an abusive employer was found guilty of enslaving Bolivian women for two months without any pay. The employer had recruited the women from a human trafficker and then forced the two women to stitch clothes for two months. Upon rescuing the two women, the employer and the government reached a settlement to compensate the slave labor and decided to handover R$8,500($1,575) for each victim. However, the authorities were concerned about sending the Bolivian women this mush cash while traveling on the bus. The women migrants were undocumented and therefore, bank transfers were not an option. Eventually, the authorities arranged for the former employer to transfer their money to their respective bank accounts in Bolivia with the help of a financial services firm. However, that is not the ideal solution as suggested by Magno Riga, said the labor inspector.
Labor Inspectors Work to Provide Compensation To Rescued Slavery Victims in Brazil
Febraban, Brazil’s Banking Lobby association said that the state bank ‘Caxias’ is examining these matters with the labor inspectors. Provisions will be made to provide limited bank accounts for the rescued slave labor, and there will be a cap on transfers and withdrawals of such accounts. The government entitles the workers rescued from slavery in Brazil to 3 months of state unemployment benefits and compensation from their employers for their work as well as damages for abuse. There are also cases, where this amount constitutes large sums that may exceed R$1, 00,000($18,540). Currently. Officials are working on a case-by-case basis and improvising the system.
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