Brazil awaits radical slavery Bill
27 April 2004
A groundbreaking Bill that calls for the confiscation of land from landowners who use slave labour is currently being debated in Brazil's Congress. It has also been proposed that confiscated land should be used as part of the government's agrarian reform programme, which would allow it to be redistributed to former slave labourers.
The Bill has already been approved by the Senate, and is currently in the Chamber of Deputies for approval. It is the result of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's announcement last year of new measures to counter slavery in the country.
In addition to President 'Lula's' commitment to fight slavery, 2003 saw the number of forced labourers freed by the government's Mobile Inspection Groups more than double to nearly 5,000.
Last January, the murder of three labour inspectors and their driver as they were en route to inspect a farm in Minas Gerais state, raised concerns that action against slaveholders might be affected. Fortunately this has not been the case and, instead, awareness of slave labour has increased, giving new momentum to the discussion of the Bill. http://www.antislavery.org