Commend Brazil’s Newest Humanitarian Law

Target: President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff

Goal: Commend the Brazilian Government for passing a measure that will protect citizens against slave labor and exploitative working conditions

Even today, slave labor is still a harsh reality. In Brazil, tens of thousands of citizens are still being exploited and working in slave-like conditions. There was nothing being done about the situation in Brazil until recently, when the Constitutional Amendment Proposal (PEC) 438/2001 was approved by the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies after a ten-year waiting period.

As reported by the Inter Press Service, PEC 438 will enforce labor laws by allowing the Brazilian government to confiscate the property of employers caught using slave labor. The confiscated land will be turned over to the agrarian reform program or urban social initiatives.

“This is an important victory. There was a clear demonstration of support from various sectors of society,” said Xavier Plassat, coordinator of the National Campaign Against Slave Labour of the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT). Plassat added that the confiscation of property from exploitative employers would help break “the vicious cycle of slavery,” and that this measure “is also symbolic because of the values it promotes, in line with the Constitution: dignity is worth more than land ownership, which will now be conditioned on respect for the land’s social function.”

More than 42,000 workers were liberated from slave-like labor conditions between 1995 and 2011—the Ministry of Labor and Employment says the real number may even be higher. The majority of labor infractions occur in the agricultural and livestock industries, but some cases were also uncovered in textile sweatshops, brothels and hotels. Slave labor disproportionately affects minorities and the poor, making protective legislation an issue of social justice.

The reality of these numbers makes it abundantly clear how crucial it is for Brazil to enact protective legislation like this amendment. Sign below to commend the government for taking this step, and encourage them to continue protecting the poor and disenfranchised from labor exploitation.


Dear President Rousseff,

The recent amendment pushed through into Brazilian law will help protect the economically downtrodden from further exploitation.

It is not common knowledge that slave labor still exists in today’s modern world. It is, after all, the 21st century. That is why this amendment is so important, as a safeguard for the marginalized against the greedy and misguided intentions of employers.

Thank you for acknowledging this as a significant issue and taking action to fix the problem. Hopefully, other countries that experience the same problems with slave-like working conditions can follow suit and enact legislation to protect workers.


[Your Name Here]


Photo credit: UggBoy♥UggGirl via Flickr

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41 Signatures

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