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Slave Labor or Archaic Customs?

Do claims of slave labor in the Brazilian Amazon merely reflect cultural misinterpretations? The BBC on the state of Para, where more than 1,000 “slaves” were rescued in two years.

Is slave labor in the Brazilian Amazon due to cultural misinterpretations, as landowners claim? One told the BBC, “We are very humble people with archaic customs. If you…find someone sleeping rough, on the floor, or in a dirty shed, that can be something normal here.” But Vladimir Hernandez reports that in the state of Para, officials have been rescuing workers held on farms or in charcoal camps against their will, many poor rural workers and in very poor sanitary conditions who were “desperate to make a living in one of the most deprived and unequal areas of Brazil.”


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