The Definition of Slave Labor for Criminal Enforcement and the Experience of Adjudication: The Case of Brazil

The paper examines the intersections and differences between “slave labor” as used in the Brazilian domestic sphere and “slave labor” as applied to international law. The former shows an approach centered on criminal law, as opposed to human rights law. This paper explains why degrading working conditions and debilitating workdays should continue to be prohibited and punished. It also compares the sanctions of the Brazilian Criminal Code with those of similar crimes in other jurisdictions. It concludes with a discussion of the current bill proposed by Senator José Sarney, which would replace the current definition with one that more closely reflects international standards.