An operation by the Public Ministry of Labor (MPT) carried out last week rescued 207 workers in conditions similar to slavery on farms in seven cities in the Triângulo, Alto Paranaíba and Sul de Minas. The action was supported by the Federal Public Defender’s Office, the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), the Federal Highway Police (PRF) and the Federal Police.
The same action also rescued 25 workers in Delfinópolis, 10 in Santa Rita do Sapucaí, and seven in Andradas, all in the south of Minas.
The workers worked with extracting corn husks to manufacture cigarettes, harvesting garlic and harvesting potatoes, harvesting coffee.
More than 200 workers in conditions similar to slavery are rescued in MG
The state concentrates 25% of complaints of slave labor across the country.
“We have noticed that the increase in economic difficulties has led these workers to submit to worse working conditions and, consequently, to conditions analogous to slavery”, said Humberto Monteiro, tax auditor for the MPT.
The group of 74 workers recruited in Maranhão worked in garlic cutting and potato harvesting. They were housed in the Santa Juliana Center, in makeshift locations.
One of these places was an old funeral home, where partitions were placed so that rooms could be improvised. In this place, 45 workers lived.
Also according to the audit, the sanitary facilities shared the same space for the preparation of meals. The place had no laundry, leisure or dining space.
In another accommodation in the city, electrical installations were improvised, exposing the inmates to the risk of electric shock. In the bathroom, there was no hot water in the shower. And in the kitchen, auditors found rat infestation on stoves due to lack of cleanliness.
All workers were removed from degrading working and housing conditions. Employers paid severance pay.
Rescue in Campos Altos, Indianópolis and Iraí de Minas
Public Ministry of Labor rescued workers in Iraí de Minas and Campos Altos — Photo: MPT/Disclosure
Last Friday (26), 91 people in a situation similar to slavery were rescued in Campos Altos, Indianópolis and Iraí de Minas.
According to the Labor Prosecutor, Paulo Veloso, in Iraí de Minas, 54 employees were found working in the extraction of straw for the manufacture of artisanal cigarettes.
They left Maranhão and did not have protective equipment and drinking water. The group was also without employment records and in degrading housing, sleeping on the floor.
“There was no bathroom. We had to go down to the middle of the woods. One was watching to see if anyone was coming”, said a worker.
In Indianópolis and Campos Altos, two farms were inspected, with 37 workers from Alagoas, all to work without registration. During the work, they had no access to water, a bathroom or a place to eat.
“In all the properties inspected and where the rescue took place, the conditions were extremely precarious, in an unacceptable way. There was no cafeteria, they were forced to eat their meals sitting on the floor, under the hot sun, there were no sanitary facilities and they did the necessities physiological conditions in the bush, there was no supply of drinking water. In addition, they were not registered, did not receive personal protective equipment, increasing the risk of accidents even more. Some of these workers were in degrading accommodation,” said Veloso.
Also according to the prosecutor, of the 91 people rescued, seven were under 18. Of the seven, one teenager is 15 years old. All worked in the fields under the same conditions as adults.
On Tuesday (30), they were taken to Patos de Minas, where they received the contractual terminations, which totaled R$ 532,530.63. Each also received 3 installments of unemployment insurance in the amount of R$ 1,212, in addition to dividing R$ 720 thousand in individual moral damages.