Category: Farmworkers

Brazil’s “Transparency List”

Earlier this year we visited with Rosa Maria Campos in Brasilia. She leads the union of labor inspectors who visit factories and farms all over Brazil as part of the country’s fight against slavery—inspectors who face budget shortfalls in the capital and hostility from the employers they inspect in the field. Rosa Maria is inspiring—courageous, […]

Brazil’s Fight Against Modern Slavery

Brazil’s fight against modern slavery has been held up as an example by labor rights advocates from Free the Slaves to the U.S. Department of Labor to the UN’s International Labor Organization. Its effort has been ambitious (the goal is total eradication of modern slavery), courageous (websites have been hacked, activists threatened, inspectors killed), creative […]

A Little Perspective on the Scope of the Problem

When we learned more than two years ago that Brazil’s government had cited 15 coffee farms for profiting from modern slavery, we asked our partner Repórter Brasil to help us understand whether those farms contained the full universe of cases of modern slavery in the country’s coffee sector, or whether they were representative of a […]

This is What Modern Slavery Looks Like

2015-12-14 Comments

The current issue of Vanity Fair features this inspiring profile of one our partners in the fight against modern slavery in Brazil.  The author ably summarizes modern slavery like this: “[It] differs from classic chattel slavery, in which people are held as private property, but to the extent that it treats people as tools to […]

Brazil and the “S-Word”

The Atlantic slave trade left a ruinous legacy everywhere, but in the Americas, perhaps no country was more affected than Brazil.  During a ghastly period of more than 300 years, estimates suggest that somewhere between four and five million slaves were delivered to its shores by slave traders—more than one-third of all Africans dragged to […]

Modern Slavery in the Coffeelands

During the summer of 2013, we learned quite by accident that 15 coffee estates in Brazil were included in the government’s “Dirty List,” an official registry of farms and firms found to be profiting from what the country’s laws define as modern-day slavery. We turned for insight to a long-time CRS partner in São Paulo […]

Join the Conversation on Farmworkers in Coffee

Last summer, researchers at the Danish human rights organization Danwatch published this story about labor rights violations in the coffee sector in Brazil.  The authors argue that the problem “has its roots in the fact that some people believe that it is ok to exploit others to increase their own gain.” We won’t argue that […]

Third-Rail Communications

The Direct Trade-v-Fair Trade debate resurfaced here last week.  I weighed in on that debate here yesterday. Today I want to explore a related idea: that the leading proponents of these two trading models may have communicated themselves into corners from which they can’t easily extricate themselves even though they desperately need to. Direct Trade […]

The List + The Toolkit

I have been writing for this blog on issues related to farm labor consistently since the beginning of last year, and talking with colleagues in the industry about farmworkers in the coffee sector for even longer. During that time, two common responses have been denial (it’s not really a big deal) and resignation (it is […]