Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Brazilian woman forced into domestic slavery and marriage freed after 40 years

I remember seeing someone say years ago that laws against slavery should be dropped, because slavery no longer existed.  I don't know what alternate reality he was living in.




The Independent
Namita Singh
Tue, December 22, 2020, 2:20 AM EST

A Brazilian woman who was enslaved from the age of eight in a household for 40 years and forced into marriage with an elderly member of the family has finally been rescued after neighbours tipped off the authorities.

“They gave her food when she was hungry, but all other rights were taken from her,” Humberto Camasmie, the inspector in charge of the rescue, told Reuters news agency.

The parents of the victim had given her up to a professor at Patos de Minas University, Unipam, when she was about 8-years-old, the labour inspector said. She was living in a small room of an apartment in Patos de Minas, in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais at the time of the rescue.

The woman, now 46, has worked for the family most of her life without any kind of remittance or leave.

The clamping down of domestic slavery is difficult in Brazil because labour inspectors are required to obtain a warrant from a judge to enter a house suspected of enslaving a person. In order to get permission, the officials must produce evidence from the victim that they are being exploited.


The officials also said that the woman was forced into a marriage with an elderly member of the family so that they continue to receive his pension after his demise.


Though slavery was abolished about 130 years ago in Brazil, modern slavery has taken various forms in the country, with majority of it found in people working as domestic helps on farms and textile factories. About 53,000 workers have been rescued from slave-like conditions in the country since 1995, according to a media outlet, The Brazilian Report.

Of the 3,513 workers rescued between 2017 and 2019, only 21 were found in domestic servitude, according to Reuters. “It is very rare to receive complaints (about domestic servitude) ... as most (victims) never realise they are being abused,” said labour prosecutor Ana Lucia Stumpf Gonzalez.


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