This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Brazil Battles 21st Century Slavery

The Brazilian government last year rescued 2,270 workers from "slave-like" conditions, according to BBC News.

An official "dirty list" of employers using slave labour was extended to include 294 companies and individuals.
It is the highest number since officials began compiling the list in 2004.
Most of the victims were working on farms and ranches, but the Labour Ministry said it was also finding slave-like conditions in urban areas.
Keep in mind that Brazil was the last country in the western hemisphere to abolish traditional slavery back in 1888, at which time more than a million African slaves were freed. So, these numbers are obviously not in that same ballpark. However, what is worth contemplating is the Brazilian government's definition of slave-like conditions:
Brazil defines slave labour as work carried out in degrading conditions for less than the minimum wage.

If we were to apply that definition in the United States and took a look at the conditions of undocumented immigrants, we could almost certainly come up with at least a million people living in slavery.

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