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1/? THREAD: What can the world learn from Brazil’s struggle to #endslavery?

This week I’m visiting Brazil to consider that question.

Combining mobile inspection teams, social action & big data, Brazil’s efforts are amongst the most sophisticated in the world.
2/ >50000 modern slaves have been rescued by the Brazilian state since 1995.
On behalf of @UNUCPR @Delta87org & @FinComSlavery I'll meet with @undpbrazil @ilo @MPT_PGT @reporterb @experian & more, focusing on policy in agriculture & finance.

Learn more about slavery in Brazil & government efforts here: delta87.org/dashboards/bra…

Follow along - & send ?s!
4/. Let’s get started. With José Pereira - the 17 yo worker who fled the Espírito Santo estate in Para, Brazil, in Sept 1989:

5/ . Pereira was forced to work without pay in near-inhuman conditions. When he fled, he was shot at and a coworker was killed. They were dumped by the side of the road.
6/. Bravely, Pereira denounced the conditions to the Federal Police. 60 workers were freed. His case led eventually to a crucial 1994 decision of the @IACHumanRights &, in turn, to a significant escalation in Brazilian government action, which I will discuss later in the thread.
7/. Zé Pereira’s case was typical of recent modern slavery in Brazil. Poor, poorly educated young men, especially Afro Brazilians, have historically been at highest risk. They are recruited to work in rural areas, particularly in the states of Pará, Mato Grosso and Tocantins.
8/. #Modernslavery in Brazil is a product of Brazil’s highly hierarchical an unequal economy, a product of a colonial era deeply dependent on slavery. 40% of all people transported into slavery in the Americas from Africa came to Brazil.
9/. 19th century land reforms, by making unclaimed public land a marketable commodity rather than an object of state patronage, reinforced the economic power of existing landowners, while the end of slavery - only in 1888 - liberated a massive but impoverished workforce.
10/. Even today the scars of that era shape the face of the Brazilian political economy. The highest rate of MS rescues is in states with high concentration of agricultural landholdings and violent land disputes.

h/t Brazilian Digital Slavery Observatory - more on that later
11/ Lack of access to land renders rural workers easier to exploit; state presence remains minimal in the Amazon, providing limited protection for the vulnerable from extralegal violence & exploitation, sometimes benefiting from apparent state backing: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eldorado_…
12/ Agricultural workers are typically amongst the least skilled & may not have been able to find work in urban construction, or higher skilled agriculture. Lured into terrible working conditions by ‘gatos’ - labor brokers – they are transported often >1000km into dangerous work.
13/ Gatos are usually paid a flat fee for service (recruitment, transport, lodging, food, supervision, payroll) - so they have an incentive to spend as little as possible on workers.
14/ Moreover, gatos typically charge workers for these services. Workers must buy tools at the store of the estate on which they work - política do barracão. That, together with isolation and violence, quickly trap workers in debt bondage.
15/ One of the things I will be exploring while I’m here is which kinds of agribusinesses are most likely to generate these practices. There is some evidence that mid-size agricultural estates may be more likely than small or large ones to use MS.
16/ Small estates rely on family labour; large ones can undertake capital intensive investment for mechanization, and are more likely to be picked up in international sustainability systems.
17/ Mid size enterprises are squeezed. While they are happy to spend on livestock and crops, they reduce labor costs as far as they think they can get away with.

Modern slavery victims are in these cases quite literally treated worse than cattle.
18/ If correct, that is significant for how we understand the relationship between MS risk & vertical integration in supply chains - & for public & private financial institutions exposed to these value chains.

That is something the @FinComSlavery is looking at closely.
19/ We start our research mission in #Brasilia, the Oscar Niemeyer-conceived capital city of Brazil, where we'll meet with @undpbrazil @MPT_PGT, the Ministries of Justice & Health + key government entities in the fight to #endslavery.
Come back later for updates on this thread!
20/ We started the day with @NikyFabiancic @PNUDBrasil.

Just part of the larger @ONUBrasil family working to help #Achieve2030.

We had a great conversation about how the transformation of Brazilian agribusiness & other economic sectors may impact modern slavery risk.
21/ This afternoon as part of our mission to learn from Brazil's struggle to #endslavery we met with three government ministries - @MPT_PGT @minsaude & @JusticaGovBR - to learn about their cutting-edge innovations.
22/ Understanding those efforts begins with Articles 149 & 149a of the Brazilian penal code, which criminalize labour analogous to slavery + various kinds of human trafficking.

23/ On top of these legal provisions, Brazil has built a sophisticated system of mobile inspection teams, rescues & – most famously – the ‘dirty list’.

The lista suja is an employer register recording those employers found to have used labor practices violating Art 149.
24/ In the 2000s the Dirty List became a powerful tool for shaping corporate behaviour. Through the efforts of @reporterb & others, a public-private 'pact' was formed to foster voluntary exclusion from commerce & finance of companies on the list.
25/ The list has become politically controversial, as some employers have argued it poses an obstacle to labour market liberalization.

This PM @MPT_PGT, the Prosecutor-General for Labor, Ronaldo Fleury + I talked about how the dirty list can be seen as a business asset...
26/ Linked to government status-determinations, the dirty list provides investors + customers improved, reliable risk transparency assessments.

As Brazilian markets open up, foreign investors will make their own calls, if they don't have a reliable local list.
27/ In that sense, the dirty list is all about local control of social and market risk in the face of global financial markets.
28/ Next, in a conversation with @minsaude, @OppermannJulie & I explored how the public health system can be used to fight human trafficking.

One way is to use clinicians as frontline responders – as @HEALTrafficking + @hstoklosa are doing in the US.

29/ Another perspective it so use an epidemiological approach – understanding how different characteristics make different people vulnerable to modern slavery in different ways, and how interventions can address this.

30/ But Brazil’s rich data sets on rescued slaves, compiled by @MPT_PGT for >2 decades, put it in a unique analytic position.

Using that data @minsaude is now exploring the mortality patterns of those who survive slavery.

SPOILER ALERT: Slavery isn’t good for your health.
31/ This opens up powerful policy arguments for investing in anti-slavery: prevention reduces the – potentially significant – public health + social costs.

That argument is emerging in the global north, for example in the UK:


NB @ukhomeoffice
32/ Imagine the value that could be unlocked for the global south if anti-slavery were framed as a fiscal burden reduction strategy?

The work by Brazil's @minsaude @MPT_PGT & others may pave the way for such a discussion.

NB @WorldBank @eclac_un @Brazil_UN_NY
33/ Similarly, Brazil’s goldmine of data offers new insights on money-laundering risks associated with modern slavery. This was the focus of our last meeting for the day with COAF Brasil, the Brazilian financial intelligence unit.

NB @EGFIU @FinComSlavery @FATFNews @keatingetom
34/ Tomorrow, we'll be back for more after meetings with @ilo + the 3 Brazilian national commissions - for modern slavery, human trafficking + child labour...
35/ TUESDAY: The @OITBrasil (ILO in Brazil) has catalyzed Brazilian innovation to #endslavery for over 20 years. That has included helping local stakeholders develop national action plans against modern slavery, child labour & human trafficking.
36/ Today @OITBrasil is helping Brazilian authorities develop world-leading #bigdata innovations, like the SmartLab Digital Observatory on Modern Slavery in Brazil developed with Luis Fabiano de Assis from @MPT_PGT :

37/ The @ILO has also been central to the success of a regional initiative that has helped put Latin America at the forefront of efforts to combat child labour:


Follow them @SinTrabinfantil !
38/ We were excited to hear aboutnew areas of @OITBrasil innovation in sectoral supply-chain analysis & social accounting matrix analysis.

But one of the most successful regulatory innovations to #EndSlavery in Brazil is old-fashioned partnerships...
39/ Brazil has not 1 but 3 multistakeholder commissions cooperating around agreed national action plans:

1. CONATRAE for modern slavery
2. CONAETI for child labour and
3. CONATRAP for human trafficking (seen in the picture)

Today @Delta87org heard & learned from them all.
40/ Public-private partnership is never easy, but in Brazil it has been central to the country’s success in tackling #modernslavery, #humantrafficking & #childlabor.

Tomorrow, we will explore that success from 2 more angles...
41/ Tomorrow, in Rio:

1. obo @FinComSlavery we meet @bndes to discuss the role of Brazilian finance in fighting modern slavery (NB @RichardBoele @McGrathSarah)

2. obo @Delta87org we meet @ibgecomunica to learn about their pioneering work to count victims and survivors.
42/ Great meeting this morning with Daniela Baccas + her team @BNDES, the world’s 2nd largest domestic development bank. Daniela runs social policy & the #AmazonFund. We were joined by Prof Silvia Pinheiro.
43/ We discussed the ways in which @BNDES has used the lista suja, or dirty list – the official register of employers found to have submitted workers to conditions analogous slavery.

Since 2003 @BNDES has excluded any company on the lista suja from its lending + investment.
44/ And because many banks deal with @BNDES, those banks also choose to use the lista suja as a benchmark for exclusion – to avoid complications with @BNDES.

This creates strong knock-on effects throughout the economy.
45/ And it also creates opposition.

A 2014 complaint from the real estate and construction industry based on due process and constitutional concerns led to the temporary suspension of the dirty list.

It is now back in operation.
46/ @BNDES we also discussed human rights due diligence in meat, sugarcane/ethanol + garment supply-chains.

As local producers integrate into global valuechains, the lista suja becomes an asset: giving foreign investors & lead buyers reliable #HRDD info + a clear benchmark.
47/ + Once you find your way on to the lista suja, you have 2 years to work with the authorities to sort out the problems and provide required remedies.

This fits well with evolving #BizHumanRights expectations around how corporate leverage, based on the @UN Guiding Principles.
48/ We talked with @BNDES about what creative use of leverage means for financial institutions, esp. in an environment where modern slavery is relatively widespread.

This is something the @FinComSlavery has been considering:

49/ One implication relates to disbursement allocation policies. What should a development finance institution focus on, to help #endslavery?

This seems v. relevant for thinking about how to prevent modern slavery in Brazil, esp. for the #AmazonFund + its donors inc @NorwayMFA.
50/ Deforestation of the Amazon, which the #AmazonFund fights, is closely linked to both meat production and charcoal production.

The State of Para, eg, is home to one of the world’s largest iron ore deposits, which has led to a pig iron industry relying on vegetal charcoal.
51/ Pig iron made with mineral charcoal can have high sulfur levels, making it unsuitable for the steel production process. Para’s pig iron is therefore in high demand particularly in the Brazilian automobile industry.

But who makes the charcoal?

Too often, slaves.
52/ Investing in education, livelihoods + inclusive finance, may however reduce vulnerabilities to modern slavery.

Understanding how development finance choices interact dynamically with slavery risk seems important.
53/ @BNDES are equipping themselves to navigate these challenges in future through some creative thinking around #SDG financing + effectiveness analysis, including creative approaches to data.

Data innovation has been central to effective anti-slavery policy in Brazil...
54/ So next we visited @ibgecomunica, and discussed their pioneering work to measure forced labour across Brazil.

Tomorrow, Sao Paulo…
55/ Fascinating day in São Paulo.

First, we visited @renatovicente & the team at @ExperianDataLab’s Brazil hub.

Brazil’s uniquely rich data sets position the country well to become an innovator in using financial inclusion to help #endslavery.

56/ Later, we visited with @CarlosBezerraJr to discuss progress in implementing the Lei Bezerra - an important regulatory innovation in São Paulo state.

This allows the state government to exclude from SP for 10 years companies based there that have enslaved workers.
57/ That law now faces a key implementation test case involving @LojasMOfficer.

We @UNUCPR @Delta87org & the @FinComSlavery will be watching closely.
58/ We also discussed the key role that sports can play in tackling #modernslavery & #childlabour.

Sports organizations have enormous power - for good, when they empower people, esp. kids; for I’ll when they treat them as commodities.

59/ On Friday we met in Sao Paulo with @XAVIERPLASSAT of @cptnacional, which has played a huge role in Brazil’s struggle to #endslavery >20 years.

Their data suggests that slavery spikes in sectors undergoing poorly governed booms in labour demand.

60/ In Brazil, #ModernSlavery has spiked where:

-- local political & economic forces create over-supply of unskilled labour
-- global markets create sudden demand for commodities – coffee + latex in the 19th C, more recently for pig iron, ethanol, beef.
61/ This points to the power of intl markets to discipline local production, as incrsng emphasis on social certification in Brazil's export mkts makes clear.

But social audits are easily gamed.

There is no substitute for effective govt monitoring + inspection.

NB @GLeBaron
62/ The good news is that there are new techniques emerging for combining SIGINT, #artificialintelligence + on the ground intel to strengthen monitoring and inspection for modern slavery:

63/ + If #modernslavery relates to interactions b/w local labor supply curves + global market demand, slavery trends may offer insights into bigger macroeconomic + market stability issues.

This is already on @BancoCentralBR radar.

Again Brazil leads the world. @Brazil_UN_NY
64/ That was a recurring theme at @FinComSlavery @ReporterB @UNUCPR @MPT joint event on the role of the financial sector.

We heard from banks, NGOs, academics + govt agencies, inc. @ARamasastry of @WGBizHRs, @institutoethos @FlaviaScabin @aron_belinky.
66/ 1 esp. significant example of Brazilian innovation:

@MPT_PGT is suing 2 big Brazilian banks - @Bradesco (private) + Banco da Amazonia (public-controlled) - for dealing with entities on the #listasuja.

67/ So what did we learn in our week in Brazil?

Brazil’s struggle to #endslavery has a long way to go.

But the efforts it has made to date are unparalleled – and give it a competitive advantage in shaping emerging global market + intergovernmental norms.

68/ Brazil has a choice: 🤔
1. roll back gains of recent years from #listasuja, inspections + use of #bigdata; or
2. use that goldmine of know-how + data to shape global norms to #endslavery.

Noone wins from Option 1. Everyone - inc. Brazilian biz - wins from Option 2.

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