Brazil’s Prized Exports Rely on Slaves and Scorched Land

Slavery lurks in remote parts of the Brazilian Amazon as laborers are duped into working contracts that exploit them mercilessly. The prime exports of this resource-rich region – exotic woods and beef – have raised many controversies at both national and international levels. Human rights violations and environmental degradation – both difficult to monitor – often go unpunished or are even sanctioned by local authorities. Indeed, though Brazil abolished slavery in the late 19th century, it remains commonplace in some areas, especially where working conditions are most inhospitable. The Brazilian government has stepped up efforts to crackdown on both forced labor and deforestation, but regulations are still loosely enforced and suppliers routinely falsify certificates. For their part, foreign buyers of the products of forced labor, like the ones cited in this article, claim to be unable to monitor or verify how their products are produced. As a result, many consumers in countries like the US remain ignorant of their suppliers' practices. –YaleGlobal

Brazil's Prized Exports Rely on Slaves and Scorched Land

Larry Rohter
Monday, March 25, 2002

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