46-year-old Brazilian woman enslaved for decades rescued

46-year-old Brazilian woman enslaved for decades rescued

A 46-year-old Brazillian woman who was enslaved and forced into a marriage for almost four decades has been rescued. The woman was enslaved as a maid at the age of 8 when her poor parents gave her to a professor at Patos de Minas University, Unipam.

The woman was found living in a small room in Patos de Minas, in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais. She was raised by the professor’s mothers. She has worked for the family for more than four decades without any pay or any time off said Labour inspector.

Her name is kept confidential for her protection. 

The Labour inspector came to know about the victim when the neighbors reported the authorities about her. The woman has sent a note to the neighbors asking for help. Globo’s Fantastico program shows the note which says, “Lend me soap to shower. You’ll receive a prayer.” 

Humberto Camasmie, the inspector in charge of the rescue informed the Thomson Reuters Foundation “They gave her food when she was hungry, but all other rights were taken from her”.

The lawyer representing the professor’s family has said that they have been proven guilty without the court’s judgment. 

If the professor is found guilty of charges against him he will be behind the bars for 8 years. 

Labour prosecutors are trying to strike a deal with the professor’s family to pay compensation to the victim woman.

The woman was also forced to marry an elderly relative so that the family can receive the pension when he dies. 

After rescuing her, the woman was kept in a shelter and she has been administrated by therapists and social workers. While sharing her story with Reuters the woman said she fears seeing the family she once considered her own.

“Every now and then I see the family……. It is kind of a horrible, difficult feeling”, she said. She also added, “There’s a sense of fear, even though they can’t do anything to me.”  

Officials say that It is difficult to identify Domestic servitude in Brazil because the majority of the victims rarely see themselves as modern slaves. 

“It is very rare to receive complaints (about domestic servitude) … as most (victims) never realize they are being abused,” said labor prosecutor Ana Lucia Stumpf Gonzalez.

The woman is now keeping the monthly pension of about R$8,000 ($1,560) but earlier she even didn’t know what minimum wages are said labour inspector Camasmie.  

“She did not know what a minimum wage was,” he said. “Now she’s learning how to use a credit card. She knows that every month she will be paid a substantial amount (from the pension).”

Domestic servitude is a type of forced labor and a form of human trafficking performed in private residences as a seemingly normal practice which makes it extremely difficult to detect. 

The rescued Brazillian woman was also a victim of domestic servitude. It is considered normal in Brazil due to long term Slavery practices. Although the term is not used often but Domestic servitude is still practiced there which is wrong in every aspect. 

Slavery is inhuman and cruel, Under Article 24 “It is every human right to get rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay”. 

Everyone should know the following signs of Domestic servitude:

  •  Be malnourished or having physical or emotional trauma
  • Eating with the rest of the family is not allowed
  • Forced to work “on-call” 24 hours a day
  • Not allowed to leave the house without an employer
  • Reported as missing or accused of a crime if you try to escape 
  • Not allowed to engage with authority 
  • No proper sleeping place or having a private space


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