Hearing in Brazil: VW is silent on allegations of slave labor

Hearing in Brazil: VW is silent on allegations of slave labor

Status: 06/15/2022 10:36 am

Volkswagen is accused of engaging in serious human rights violations on a single farm in Brazil. Those affected hope for compensation. The group does not want to comment in writing until September.

By Stefanie Dodt, NDR and Matthias Ebert, SWR

The first lawsuit was filed against Volkswagen in Brazil, according to which the automotive company is responsible for slave labor on a farm in the Amazon basin. VW did not comment on the content. Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. “Volkswagen is taking the case very seriously and is ready for action,” a summary of the session quoted the company’s lawyers as saying. it is a lie NDR and SWR before. The public prosecutor’s office is asking VW to hand over documents to the farm in Germany and Brazil.

Matthew Ebert
ARD Studio Rio de Janeiro

The crime is said to have taken place between 1974 and 1986 for contract workers on a farm in the Amazon basin. The car manufacturer was running a 140,000-hectare farm at the time. It should be the entry of a car manufacturer into the meat business. Volkswagen had instructed employers to carry out cleaning work. They are said to have brought hundreds of temporary workers to the farm and enslaved them there – with the knowledge and permission of VW, according to investigators. According to a transcript of the case, investigators said their investigation into the VW field revealed “the worst situation that modern slavery prosecutors have ever encountered.”

Brazilian prosecutors accuse VW of gross human rights violations

Matthias Ebert / Stefanie Dodt, ARD Rio de Janeiro, tagesschau24 11:00 am, June 15, 2022

For two hours, a group of Volkswagen lawyers and Brazilian court representatives sat at a table in the Ministry of Labor building in Brasilia, at the prosecution’s call. They presented the findings of their investigation: They described the modern slave system and the closed work of armed guards who were supposed to prevent the workers from escaping.

The next trial is scheduled for the end of September. Prosecutor Rafael Garcia appeared in an interview with ARD “We are confident that in the end we will be able to obtain adequate compensation for serious human rights violations.”

“Payment for Torture”

The aim is to compensate for the alleged victims of the time. They followed the hearing only at a distance. Former farm worker Pedro Valdo said it was not too late for justice. “Money does not restore those who lost their lives in the farm, but it compensates for the suffering,” says Valdo. According to his own account, he was brought to the farm at the age of 15 as a temporary worker for cleaning work and then held against his will on a debt claim.

In terms of content, there are currently no reports from Volkswagen from Wolfsburg, only indications that the allegations are being taken seriously. And that despite the fact that Bielefeld historian Christopher Kopper acted on those claims on behalf of VW five years ago and strongly confirmed them in research. “Maybe it’s a bit of a shame and an inability to deal with it,” Kopper said. It can’t be about money, because VW can pay compensation to employees “from small amounts”. “VW should recognize that these workers were mistreated and that they should be compensated.”

Brazil: VW’s first session on slavery without consequences

Stefanie Dodt, NDR, 15.6.2022 11:01 am