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‘Slave-like’ labor found in Brazil airport project

September 26, 2013

SAO PAULO (AP) — A construction company working on the pre-World Cup expansion of Sao Paulo’s international airport forced 111 men to work in slave-like conditions, according to Brazil’s Labor Ministry.

Labor Ministry inspector Renato Bignami told the G1 news portal of Globo TV that the OAS construction company made each worker pay the equivalent of $250 dollars to secure a job.

Ministry officials said Thursday many had to sleep on thin mattresses spread out on the floor and lacked for water, refrigerators and stoves.

In emailed statements, OAS and the airport denied any involvement in the hiring of the 111 workers and said they are cooperating with investigators.

While the workers apparently were not held against their will, they were forced to live in conditions so miserable that the Labor Ministry defines them as “slave-like.”

G1 said the workers will each be compensated with the equivalent of $3,000 and sent back to their hometowns.

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