Brazil drones to fight slave labour in rural areas

The use of drones comes at a time when a regular publication of a blacklist of companies using slave labour has been halted.

Brazil drones to fight slave labour in rural areas

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Brazilian government plans to use drones to strengthen its fight against slave labour in rural areas, the Labour Ministry has said.

Labour inspectors, who investigate properties that are suspected of employing workers in slave-like conditions, will use six drones equipped with cameras to monitor suspicious activities starting next month in the state of Rio de Janeiro.

"Drones don't substitute the inspector's physical presence, but they will be useful out in the country, in the case of farms that are hard to reach by road, for example," said Bruno Barcia Lopes, coordinator of Rural Supervision at Rio de Janeiro's Labour Secretariat.

The Inspire 1 drones, made by China's DJI, have cameras that can shoot 4K resolution video and capture 12 megapixel photos. After Rio, other Brazilian states will start using similar equipment, the Labour Ministry said in a statement last week.

The decision to use drones comes at a time when a crucial weapon in Brazil's fight against slavery - regular publication of a blacklist of companies using slave labour - has been halted by an injunction brought by a body representing real estate developers.

More than 120 years after Brazil became the last country in the Americas to abolish slavery, in 1888, about 1.8 million men and women work for little or no pay as forced laborers in Latin America, according to 2012 estimates by the Geneva-based International Labor Organization (ILO). Globally, 21 million people are trapped in some form of forced labour.

There is no reliable data about slave labour in Brazil, and it's difficult to gauge if the situation has improved or if employers who exploit slave labour have simply become more sophisticated, said Leonardo Sakamoto, head of São Paulo-based Repórter Brasil, an NGO that exposes slave labour cases.

"We can't say things are better, or that slave labour has migrated to the cities, and it's almost impossible to calculate numbers," Sakamoto said. "Slave labour is like Silly Putty. Every time you squeeze it, it assumes a different form."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Temmuz 2015, 17:10
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