Modern-day Slavery in Brazil
47 year old Raimunda Barbosa Monteiro worked for eight years as a cook during Para State's gold mining boom of the 1980s. She contracted leprosy, and lost three toes, due to the poor hygiene standards and the working conditions of the gold mines. In 2002 she was hired to work as a cook at the Boa Vista farm in south Para. There was no contract and the salary was 170 Reais (34 GBP) per month, to cook for a team of workers clearing the fields. But she never received the full salary. For periods of up to five months she would receive no money at all and if she asked for the money she would be told that there was none to give. She worked seven days a week staying for up to four months without a single day of break, all the time unable to see her son who lived not far from the farm. She was the only woman living in a hut with four other (male) workers without any sanitation. Privacy was almost impossible and the workers would supplement their diet of rice and beans with anything they could kill. Often there would be no food in the morning and the workers would have to go to work on an empty stomach. Raimunda once told the farmer that the workers were shaking of hunger but he did nothing for them. There was no medical support and she never had her skin condition checked while in that farm. The Federal Police raided the farm and rescued the workers. The farmer was forced to pay her 9.100 reais (1.820 pounds) of unpaid salaries.
Photo: Eduardo Martino / documentography