Volkswagen is accused of ‘slavery’ during the dictatorship in Brazil

Volkswagen is accused of ‘slavery’ during the dictatorship in Brazil


sent on 05/29/2022 20:58

(credit: JENS SCHLUETER)

The German group Volkswagen, the second largest car manufacturer in the world, is facing new accusations related to the dictatorship in Brazil, but this time for the practices of “slavery” between 1974 and 1986, published this Sunday (29) by several German media.

According to the public television network ARD and the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, Volkswagen was summoned to appear on June 14 at the labor court in Brasília.

Interviewed by AFP, a Volkswagen spokesperson assured that the company took this case “very seriously” and the “possible events” that would occur “and on which the investigation of the Brazilian judicial authorities is based”.

The truth would happen between 1974 and 1986, when the dictatorship came into force in Brazil (1964-1986). The group’s employees have been demanding compensation for several years, but so far without success.

human trafficking

According to German media, the complaint investigated by a Brazilian court alleges that the carmaker used “practices similar to slavery” and “human trafficking” and accuses the group of being complicit in “systematic violations of human rights”. .

At that time, the group’s project was to build a large agricultural area on the banks of the Amazon for the meat trade, “Companhia Vale do Rio Cristalino”.

For this, hundreds of day laborers and temporary workers were hired through intermediaries for logging work on 70,000 hectares of land.

According to German media, it is likely that the company’s management has approved this hiring. The media, which examined more than 2,000 pages of documentation and police reports, show that workers were sometimes brutally tortured by referees and armed guards.

Among the documents are testimonies about the abuse of workers who tried to escape and even suspicious disappearances. The employee’s wife was raped as punishment, according to German media.

The mother even claims that her son died as a result of the abuse.

Volkswagen has already faced Brazilian justice in the past during the dictatorship.

In 2020, the group agreed to pay 36 million reais to compensate the families of former workers tortured or killed during the period.

The former employees and their families said that VW’s security department in Brazil cooperated with the military to identify the suspects who were detained and tortured. This partnership was confirmed by an independent report requested by the company in 2016.