The Court sentenced the owners of Fazenda Canoeiro, in Pontal do Araguaia, 510 km from Cuiabá, to pay compensation for collective moral, material and individual damages to the brothers Marinalva Santos and Maurozã Santos, aged 43 and 49 at the time, who were subjected to more than 20 years of work similar to slavery on the property.
The action was filed by the Mato Grosso Public Ministry of Labor (MPT-MT) after the victims were rescued in 2019, and the decision was published on October 23.
To the g1, The defense of the farm owners informed that they will not take a position on the case at the moment.
The victims started working on the property when they were still young. They were rescued by a team from the Social Assistance Reference Center (Cras) who visited the location and found them working barefootwith dirty clothes and bad odor. Both were responsible for general services, such as maintenance of the vegetable garden, dam and farm animals.
Cras professionals stated that working and living conditions there were precarious. The brothers lived in a house with poor hygiene conditions, did not receive body or bedding clothing, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), time off or salary.
Marinalva reported that she had already tried to leave the farm, but returned to the property because she was unable to support herself. She further added that the meals were rare and basically consisted of ‘bread and cake’.
In testimony, Maurozã stated that worked every day of the week, including on Sundays. According to him, as there was no bathroom in the place where they were staying and they did not receive any hygiene products, it was necessary to go ‘to the bush’ to fulfill their physiological needs.
The place was not cleaned frequently and the victims bathed in the property’s dam. In addition to his two brothers, Marinalva’s son was also subjected to work similar to slavery.
His rescue occurred shortly afterwards, in January 2020. Like his mother and uncle, he worked on the farm and took orders from the defendant, whom he called ‘grandma’.
Rafael reported, in his statement, that he never took vacations and that he drove for people on the property even without having a driver’s license.
According to Marinalva’s reports, physical violence was part of their routine. She says she suffered continuous attacks, including the use of pieces of wood and a machete.
She would also have been a victim of sexual abuse. In response to the Cras team, she stated that “men have done things she didn’t want”.
Maurozã also reported a serious episode of violence. Motivated by hunger, he stole a chicken from the property and was discovered by one of the farm owners’ children.
He recalls that he was taken to a swamp, where he was beaten for what happened. He also added that, at the time, the attacker was carrying a firearm.
“Due to the suffering they went through, they suffered psychological damage, not remembering their date of birth, age and names of people close to them,” said social worker, Kelly Cristina Pereira.
After years of proceedings in the Labor Court, the parties involved reached an agreement. The conciliation was approved in a hearing held on October 23rd, at the Barra do Garças Labor Court.
According to the MPT, the defendants agreed to sell the equivalent of a bushel of land, within a period of up to 90 days.
At the end of 90 days, if no one is interested in purchasing the land, a bushel will be seized, which will be sold in court. Of the total value obtained, 35% will be allocated to Marinalva, 35% to Maurozã and 15% to Rafael. The other 5% will be used to pay social security payments.