Seven presidential candidates sign letter of commitment against slave labor

Candidates for state governor also commit to prioritizing the fight against slave labor when in office

Seven candidates for the Presidency of the Republic have signed a letter of commitment against slave labor. The document asks the candidates to place a priority on combating this crime, if they are elected. Ciro Gomes (Democratic Labor Party – PDT), José Maria Eymael (Christian Democracy Party – DC), Léo Péricles (Popular Unity Party – UP), Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Workers’ Party – PT), Simone Tebet (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party – MDB), Soraya Thronicke (Brazil Union Party – União Brasil) and Vera Lúcia (United Socialist Workers’ Party – PSTU) are the candidates who signed the letter by the signature deadline.  

More than 15 organizations, among them Conectas, drafted the letter of commitment sent to the candidates. The document has already been sent to candidates in previous elections, in 2006, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020. As a result, public policies have been formulated, such as the creation of municipal and state plans, and measures have been implemented to combat this crime and provide assistance to the victims.

Signatures of candidates for state governments

In addition to the candidates for the Presidency of the Republic, all the candidates running for the governments of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso, Goiás, Bahia, Maranhão and Pará – states with a high number of rescues of slave labor or exploited workers – were also asked to sign the letter of commitment. However, the letter was also available for candidates from other states.

The commitment was signed by the following candidates for state governor: In São Paulo, Altino Júnior (United Socialist Workers’ Party – PSTU), Elvis Cezar (Democratic Labor Party – PDT), Fernando Haddad (Workers’ Party – PT), Rodrigo Garcia (Brazilian Social Democratic Party – PSDB) and Vinícius Poit (New Party – Novo). In Rio de Janeiro, Cláudio Castro (Liberal Party – PL), Cyro Garcia (United Socialist Workers’ Party – PSTU), Marcelo Freixo (Brazilian Socialist Party – PSB) and Rodrigo Neves (Democratic Labor Party – PDT).

In Minas Gerais, Lorene Figueiredo (Socialism and Liberty Party – PSOL), Renata Regina (Brazilian Communist Party – PCB) and Romeu Zema (New Party – Novo). In Bahia, Jerônimo Rodrigues (Workers’ Party – PT) and Kleber Rosa (Socialism and Liberty Party – PSOL). And in Pará, Adolfo Oliveira (Socialism and Liberty Party – PSOL).

See the commitments contained in the document

1) To combat contemporary slave labor and human trafficking as one of the priorities of my administration, working to eradicate both;

2) To not allow influences of any kind in my decisions that could prevent the signing of laws or implementation of actions necessary for the eradication of slave labor;

3) To implement the actions contained in the 2nd National Plan for the Eradication of Slave Labor, as well as, if applicable, those provided for in State and District Plans, and also to support the implementation and/or maintenance of forums and commissions aimed at the eradication of slave labor;

4) To recognize and defend the definition of contemporary slavery contained in article 149 of the Criminal Code, characterized by forced labor, debt bondage, degrading conditions and/or exhausting work days;

5) To not promote businesses or companies that have used slave or child labor, and support companies so they can develop and implement actions and measures to combat contemporary slavery in their value chains;

6) To support political negotiations aimed at approving laws that can contribute to the eradication of contemporary slavery;

7) To seek and provide protection for human rights defenders and social leaders who work on the combat of slavery and the defense of worker rights;

8) To allocate sufficient resources and guarantee political support for inspections into the conditions to which workers are subjected;

9) To support the creation and implementation across the country of legal and social assistance structures for Brazilian and foreign migrant workers;

10) To inform workers of their rights through campaigns and programs that involve the competent public agencies, and to promote, within the limits of their duties, the inclusion of the topic of contemporary slavery in the public school curriculum;

11) To support the implementation of a policy to assist rescued workers with specific actions geared towards psychosocial assistance, basic and vocational education and economic and social reintegration;

12) To seek the approval of laws that make signing contracts with public bodies and organizations conditional on a declaration, by the contracted companies, that they do not use contemporary slavery in the production of their goods and services;

13) To support the registry of employers that have subjected workers to slave labor conditions, known as the “dirty list”, that has been kept by the federal government since 2003 and had its constitutionality reaffirmed in September 2020 by a full session of the Supreme Court.

Finally, the signatories agree to resign from their position if they are found to be responsible for slave labor in their private businesses. They also agree that any person holding a public position of trust under their administration who is guilty of benefiting from slave labor will be promptly dismissed.

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