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Surveillance removes 67 workers from a condition analogous to slavery in Paracatu (MG)

Tax action

The group worked for a consortium of 45 rural producers. The rescued will receive special unemployment insurance and indemnity

A consortium of 45 rural producers was charged with keeping 67 workers in conditions similar to slavery in Paracatu, northwestern Minas Gerais, in a special operation of the Regional Labor Superintendence, an agency linked to the Special Secretariat of Social Security and Labor of the Ministry of Economy. The workers were rescued and sent to the special unemployment insurance, which pays three installments in the amount of a minimum wage (R $ 998.00) each and indemnified by the employers for the time worked.

The amount paid to the employees by the farmers organized in the consortium, known as Condomínio Santa Maria, amounts to R $ 343.7 thousand. But they also received 23 counts of infraction, one for each labor irregularity found, that can be converted into fines at the end of the process and will respond for human trafficking, since the workers were all from other cities.

According to the coordinator of the operation, the labor auditor Marcelo Gonçalves Campos, the employees were approached by intermediaries, known as "gatos" in the Minas Gerais municipality of Porteirinha, in the north of the state, and in the cities of Maranhão and Piauí and invited to work in Paracatu mainly in the cultivation of sorghum and corn.

 Those who accepted needed to pay for their own trip to the Minas Gerais municipality where the condominium was located, where they were accommodated in a lodging. In the new place they were told about the dates and farms where they would work. When they did not work they did not receive. All have already been sent back to the hometown with paid tickets by employers.

The condition analogous to slavery was characterized by the degrading conditions to which the workers were subjected. In the room where they stayed there were 14 rooms, only one with a closet, and 60 bunk beds. The beds had mattresses but no sheets, blankets and pillows. The number of toilets was inadequate and with no toilet paper and cleaning products. On the work fronts there were no toilets.

The operation began on June 3 and was finalized on July 5. Also participating in the action were Labor prosecutors, security agents of the Public Labor Ministry and the Federal Highway Police in Minas Gerais.