Left: When workers are offered jobs in
faraway farms in the State of Para, they endure long trips in trucks. The
trip is normally paid by the "gato" (farmer's assistant) who got
them the job. If the trip isn't paid by the "gato" it is because
the worker went on his own to take a chance in Para. But he often has very
little money on him so by the time he arrives in Para he will hang around
in cheap hotels until a "gato" offers him work, pays the hotel bill
and takes him to the farm where he will start to work already indebted, creating
the basic condition for slavery (debt-bondage).
confiscated by the Fedral Police during a raid at a farm in south Para.
made slavery officially illegal in 1888 (the last country in the Americas to
stop trading African slaves). Over a century on, it hasn't yet disappeared.
It's no longer directly associated with the colour of the skin as it happened
during the colonial time, but to poverty and lack of opportunities. Workers
from poor areas are enticed to take long trips to the distant farms with promises
of good work and payment. When they arrive, they find terrible working and living
They are forced to buy everything they need, from tools to
food, from a canteen with connections to the farmer. The prices are inflated
and the wages are totally consumed. They are told they actually owe money
and are impeded to leave until they pay back this fraudulent debt. They are
lured to believe that by working hard they will clear the debt the following
month, which never happens. They are, effectively, modern-day slaves.