Brazil’s lower house has approved a constitutional amendment that strengthens punishments for landowners and others who force people into slave-like working conditions.
The government reports there are about 20,000 Brazilians stuck in debt slavery. The practice is most common on remote farms but also occurs in urban sweatshops.
The amendment allows the government to confiscate without compensation all the property of anyone found to be using slave labour.
The measure has already been passed in Brazil’s senate, but that body must still approve an amendment that defines exactly what is considered slave labour before the constitutional change can take effect.