Typologies of Forced Labor Exploitation in Brazil [article]

Shelby Nichole Hickman
2021
Forced labor exploitation is the most common element of present-day institutional slavery. Despite the pervasive nature of this crime, little is known about the ways that perpetrators recruit workers and keep them in exploitive situations. Further, forced labor exploitation cases are rarely brought forward for prosecution and even more rarely receive a conviction. In this dissertation I examine the characteristics of forced labor exploitation in Brazil. Additionally, using a Focal Concerns
more » ... work, I examine the factors that influence the decision making of key investigative and court practitioners involved in processing forced labor exploitation cases. To do this, I analyzed administrative data from all (n=1,764) forced labor exploitation cases processed in the criminal and civil court systems in Brazil between 2008 and 2020. I also conducted 28 interviews with labor inspectors, federal police, and judges and prosecutors from the civil and criminal court systems. Using latent class analysis, I identified three typologies of forced labor exploitation: degrading conditions and debt servitude, degrading conditions, and degrading conditions and weapons and surveillance. I then examined the factors associated with different typologies of forced labor exploitation as well as the association between type of forced labor exploitation and sentencing outcomes. Respondents described several factors that increase uncertainty in forced labor exploitation cases, including: subjective interpretations of the criminal code, lack of formal training in handling forced labor exploitation cases, and uncertainty about who should be held accountable in larger organizational schemes. Interview participants further reported that cases that include physical violence, weapons, and ostensive surveillance are more likely to receive a conviction. In my analysis of the administrative data, I find that cases in the degrading conditions and weapons class are no more likely to receive a criminal conviction; however, cases in the degrading cond [...]
doi:10.13016/dnk9-soih fatcat:uhchkvy72zdyhglwjj2uy6zcd4