The workers were housed in leaky shacks with dirty, moldy walls, while their workplace lacked sanitary facilities.
A total of 212 rural sugarcane workers who lived in “slavery-like” conditions were rescued this Friday during an operation by the Brazilian Ministry of Labor and Employment (MTE) that lasted three days in the territory of the states of Goias and Minas Gerais, where they had been clandestinely transferred, reports G1.
Among the many irregularities that the inspection has brought to light, the charges for renting huts used as accommodation, as well as for the supply of work tools. In the workplaces there were no sanitary facilities, the inspectors reported, while the newcomers to Goias were forced to live in such precarious conditions that they They didn’t even have a shower., forcing them to bathe in cold water that fell from a pipe. Most of the houses, according to authorities, were very old, leaking, had dirty and moldy walls, and lacked proper ventilation.
In addition, the MTE stressed that employees no food was provided nor were they provided with adequate protective equipment, while pesticides were applied in the areas where the workers worked.
The ministry added that the contracting companies took responsibility for the rescued workers and agreed to pay severance pay and non-material damages. In total, the amount to be paid amounted to $730,000. In this line, the MTE also proposed the payment of almost one million dollars as collective moral damages.
Every year the authorities rescue thousands of workers exploited in extremely degrading conditions. In 2022 alone, 2,575 people were freed from slavery-like conditions, the majority from the black community.