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Slavery in Brazil

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights recently published a small article about the contemporary slavery happening in various regions of Brazil. “The Government of Brazil has put in place exemplary policies to combat contemporary forms of slavery in Brazil. However, some landowners, businesses and intermediaries such as the ‘gatos’ have found a way to avoid criminal prosecution by taking advantage of legal loopholes that delay justice and foster impunity,” said Ms. Gulnara Shahinian, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery.

As I have mentioned in an earlier post, modern day slavery is more common in Brazil than most people would imagine, especially as it is one of the most developed and promising countries of all those on the verge to move from “developing country” to “developed country”. It might (will) soon be the 5th largest economy in the world. Yes, Brazil has safety and corruption problems, but they have been minimized in the last years and its economy in tourism and agronomy (cattle and crops) is enormous and very promising. Now, how can it be possible that under those circumstances slavery is possible? How can it be, that Brazil has one of the most rigid labour / work force laws especially for this farm work in the world, yet this is the sector where (mostly men) are victims of forced labour? That those who defend the rights of victims have been threatened, harmed and killed?

In my opinion, and ultimately in the conclusion of the article, Brazil has a tremendous issue with law enforcement. Simply because a law has been established, everyday practice will not automatically change. As Ms. Gulnara Shahinian says in the article, Brazil needs to really show the people that they are serious about punishing this crime. The Brazilian government could do so by passing a proposed constitutional amendment which would allow the expropriation of land, where forced labour is used. Personally, I would like to add that afterwards they have to actually, really take some land away from someone before people will believe it. (I am not assuming that it’s the only way, but after seeing how little impact the zero tolerance law for drunk driving had until it was enforced seriously, I consider it the most promising option. Btw, people here still drive drunk. Very drunk at times.)

So lets all hope that the amendment is passed, rather sooner than later.

Thanks for reading! Krisenkind

You can find the article here (english version):

Or download the portuguese version here (word document):

Global Human Trafficking News Roundup (May 21, 2010)

Youngbee Dale publishes a  regular Global Human Traffic News collection on the http://www.examiner.com webpage. She sorted it by country, and you will be surprised to find that this topic needs to be taken seriously all over the world.

Youngbee Dale is a graduate from Regent University, where she has completed Master’s degree in International Politics. She has co-contributed to the anti-human trafficking publication, “Setting the Captives Free” by Olivia McDonald in 2007. She also interned at World Bank in D.C. and worked for trafficking victims and migrant workers in South Korea. (source: http://bit.ly/bWZpbU)

You can find her News Roundup from May 21, 2010 here: http://bit.ly/byDbdr
All other News Roundups can be found when you click on her name and thus publish all her articles and entries, or in the right column in her recent entries.

As profitable as Drug Trade – Child Trafficking in China

“Experts estimate that between 30,000 and 60,000 babies, children and adolescents disappear each year. They are kidnapped and then sold, often ending up as slaves in workshops and brickworks, or being forced to work in brothels.”

Spiegel Online, the online version of the German weekly magazine SPIEGEL, published an article today about Chinas “Child Trafficking Epidemic”. It was written by Andreas Lorenz, who is in Beijing, and published as part of the international section, thus in english.

Andreas Lorenz describes how child trafficking works in the country side and small towns of China (really, if a Policeman says “There is a children’s market in the town of Tanshan,” it really seems like all is lost) and links it to the corruption present in the country.

Below you find the first paragraph and the link. Please give it a read.

“Human trafficking, including stealing and selling children, is widespread in China. The police are almost powerless to stop it, and corruption facilitates the trade. Desperate parents are joining forces to search for their sons and daughters. But their efforts are usually unsuccessful.

Guo Gangtang sells dried pumpkin gourds in Beijing’s Yiwu City shopping center. The yellow containers are imprinted with historic figures, fairies or aphorisms — designs his wife finds on the Internet.” […]


South Africa: Stopping Human Trafficking before the WorldCup

Julie Tanner published an article on globalpost.com in which she unveiled her opinion on how  the tourism industry and international travellers can help stoppig human trafficking in the host country 2010: South Africa.

I think it is an article that is worth reading. Below you find the first abstract, followed by the link to the full article.

“NEW YORK — With the start of the FIFA World Cup Finals quickly approaching, it’s easy for soccer fans to get caught up in the excitement of the matches, the grandeur of new stadiums and the rush of people visiting South Africa from around the world. But the influx of half a million tourists will have the unintended consequence of creating new opportunities for human trafficking…”

To read the full article, go here: http://bit.ly/aejIvu