For Brazil’s Indigenous people, slavery born of colonization still hasn’t ended

For Brazil’s Indigenous people, slavery born of colonization still hasn’t ended

At least 1,640 Indigenous people have been rescued from slave-like work conditions in Brazil since 2004, or an average of 90 rescues every year over the past 18 years. That’s the key finding from a Mongabay analysis of official records, corroborated by interviews with labor inspectors. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic alone, 115 Indigenous workers have been rescued from modern slavery in Brazil, according to data from DETRAE, the division within the Ministry of the Economy responsible for tackling slave labor practices. The data show that forced labor among Indigenous people is closely linked to the farming and cattle-ranching sectors: of the 303 Indigenous people rescued between 2010 and May 2022, 287 fell into the DETRAE category of “agricultural, forestry or fisheries workers.” Of those rescued in 2022, 77% worked in farming and cattle ranching; 18% were migrant laborers (general helpers in agriculture, such as fence builders, bark peelers, weeders, etc.), and 5% were sex workers. The Brazilian state with the highest number of Indigenous people subjected to forced labor is Mato Grosso do Sul. Lúcia Helena Rangel, an anthropologist with the Indigenist Missionary Council (CIMI), says the main factor here is the historic process of expropriation of Indigenous lands for use by agribusiness. “Historically, agribusiness has pushed Indigenous communities onto small pieces of land. Over the years, the situation has worsened as Indigenous populations have grown but their territories haven’t,” Rangel says. A case in point is that of the Guarani-Kaiowá people. A report by the Instituto…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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