“Making slave labor a bad business option”

“Making slave labor a bad business option”

Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

To provide tools to enable the private sector and Brazilian society to avoid commercialization of products from suppliers that used slave labor.

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Your idea
Sector Focus

Civil society

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Positioning of your initiative on the mosaic diagram
Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Profitability of slavery

Which of the principles is the primary focus of your work?

Expose slavery’s hidden role in commerce

If you believe some other barrier or principle should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic

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What is your signature innovation, your new idea, in one sentence?

To provide tools to enable the private sector and Brazilian society to avoid commercialization of products from suppliers that used slave labor.

Describe your innovation. What makes your idea unique and different than others doing work in the field?

In 2003, Repórter Brasil started an extensive research to show how goods produced using slave labor were placed in Brazilian and global economy. Problems were identified in the following productive chains: cattle breading, vegetal coal, soy, cotton, timber, corn, rice, beans, fruits, potato, and sugar cane, among others. With the research concluded, Brazilian and multinationals companies that were identified in this network were invited to develop tools to avoid suppliers that use this kind of exploitation. The dialogues originated the National Pact for Eradication of Slave Labor, the only one of its kind existing in the whole world. This initiative already counts with 160 companies and 20 commercial associations, what represents almost 25% of Brazilian GNP.

Until then, the system for combating slave labor had not involved the private sector. The productive chains studies and the National Pact made possible to fight slavery through its commercial bias. With them, society can punish who profits restraining others’ freedom.

Delivery Model: How do you implement your innovation and apply it to the challenge/problem you are addressing?

The proposition is already implemented. In 2004, the Special Secretariat for Human Rights, linked to the Brazilian Presidency, asked to Repórter Brasil to conduct a large study, in partnership with International Labor Organization (ILO), identifying the productive chains of slave labor. The methodology had already been developed by Repórter Brasil in 2003. Eight researchers mapped, for one year, the commercial relations of 100 farms from a Brazilian government cadastre that shows employers identified using slave labor. The result was a network of 200 national and international companies that commercialize products from these farms.

With this study finished, Repórter Brasil, ILO and Instituto Ethos coordinated meetings with the companies identified in the study. The initiated conversations evolved leading to the launch of the National Pact, in May, 2005, to face slave labor in Brazil in an economical way

How do you plan to grow your innovation?

O processo está em constante expansão. A pesquisa de cadeias produtivas passou a ser realizada de forma contínua, trazendo novos signatários para o grupo.
This process is in constant expansion. The productive chains research is now conducted continuously, bringing new signers to the group. Repórter Brasil offers free of charge trainings for employees of associated companies aiming that they can implement the established principles. With support from companies it was created a communication channel (www.pactonacional.com.br) that contributes to corporate social responsibility policies regarding the combat to slavery.

We have received invitations from governments and social organizations from other countries, as the United States, Germany and Pakistan, to present what is the National Pact and how it contributed to punish bad entrepreneurs without being necessary to raise commercial barriers against a country.

We are building with civil society organizations, entrepreneurs and international organizations, supported by Brazilian government, the extension of the Pact to other countries as Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru. The objective is to foster the creation of a South American Pact for the Eradication of Slave Labor.

Do you have any existing partnerships, and if so, how do you create them?

The main partners, and also responsible for the success of the National Pact, are ILO and Instituto Ethos, which with Repórter Brasil compose the Management Committee of the Pact. These institutions were partner in the promotion of decent work in Brazil. The Instituto Observatório Social, connected to unions is partner in monitoring results.

Previous partners of Repórter Brasil in already existent projects for combating slavery also joined this process due to pre established mutual trust, such as Comissão Pastoral da Terra (Pastoral Land’s Commission). Repórter Brasil is member of National Commission for Eradication of Labor Work that involves federal government and civil society. Other members of this commission also contribute to the National Pact, such as Special Secretariat for Human Rights and Ministry of Work and Employment.

We consider also the companies that signed the Pact as partners, as without their adhesion this agreement would not have had any success. As example, some of them are Brazilian companies such as Petrobrás, Vale do Rio Doce, Coteminas and Ipiranga; and multinationals companies such as Exxon, Texaco, Shell and Wal-Mart.

Provide one sentence describing your impact/intended impact.

Today, 16o companies, with revenues that represent almost 25% of Brazilian GNP, joined the Pact, eliminating suppliers that used slave labor.

What are the main barriers to creating or achieving your impact?

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How many people have you served or plan to serve?

It is estimated that around 25 thousand people become modern-day slaves every year in farms and coal bunkers in Brazil. However, the National Pact actuation in fighting slave labor also generates improvements in the quality of life of rural workers in the whole country. Its principles not just foster the eradication of this crime but also foster the promotion of decent work. Brazil has more than 17 million rural workers, distributed in more than 4,5 million rural properties influenced directly or indirectly by this 25% of Brazilian GNP that have signed the National Pact.


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Please list any other measures of the impact of your innovation?

After signed the Pact, companies, such as Carrefour, that have strong economical power have changed their contracts to include clauses of commercial restriction towards whom uses slave labor. Companies, as Wal-Mart, have eliminated meat suppliers that refuse to boycott cattle breeders that have used slave labor. Companies have started to track its productive chains to check if they are buying indirectly from farms that used slaves, as the fabric industry Coteminas. The main fuel distributors have became players in combating slavery in ethanol production due to the National Pact.

Is there a policy intervention element to your innovation?

Due to the importance of the results from the productive chains research and of the National Pact, the promotion and defense of this agreement was incorporated in the Second National Plan for Eradication of Slave Labor, approved in April, 2008 and that will be officially launched in July by the Brazilian Presidency. In other words, the National Plan has become public policy.

Information obtained in the studies of productive chain are used by executive, legislative and judiciary in activities and laws aiming to fight slave labor.

Exactly who are the beneficiaries of your innovation?

Companies are benefited as they now have tools to keep their economical sector free from slavery users. At the same time, with the Pact, it is possible to avoid foreigner commercial barriers to Brazilian productive sectors. But the main beneficiary are the Brazilian rural workers as the National Pact makes bad employers to think twice before exploiting workers, as they can lose clients as consequence

How is your initiative financed (or how do you expect your initiative will be financed)?

The research is financed by ILO and by international NGOs. The website and the newsletter that are communication channel between the signers are financed by three of them. The same way, annual events those bring together the signers to evaluate the agreement accomplishment and to demonstrate good practices are financed by the companies. The meetings with entrepreneurs and governments and the companies’ employees’ trainings are supported with resources from one of the three organizations in the management Committee.

The trend is that the National Pact keeps receiving resources from ILO. But the maintenance and expansion costs will be supported by the signers. It is important to remember that it is of the companies’ interest that slave labor is distant of economy.

If known, provide information on your finances and organization

• Annual Budget:

Personal: my annual income comes from Ashoka’s stipend valued in R$ 42.420,00.

Repórter Brasil: the expenses forecast for 2008 is of around R$900 thousand. Resources are used in project for combating slave labor, including productive chains researches and the development of the National Pact.

• Income generate in the year (donations, service provider revenue, etc)

Revenues are the same of the expenses (R$ 900 mil). All resources from accords, projects or donations are predefined and used along the year.

• Staff: how many are full time, part time and voluntary

What is the potential demand for your innovation?

The number of signers of the National Pact grows proportionally to the number of researches on productive chains we conduct. It is impossible to measure the limit of that as the country has thousands of companies that are potentially direct or indirect buyers of entrepreneurs that use slave labor. At the same time, there is demand from other countries’ organizations to replicate the experience abroad. Finally, the experience has contributed with other pacts, in sectors that also suffer with work exploitation, as bio-fuel.

What are the main barriers to financial sustainability?

The companies that signed the National Pact are already contributing to this process maintenance. This happens spottily, but will have to become institutionalized in the middle term. That means we are considering the creation of a fund with resources from the signers to assure financial sustainability. This contribution must be without restriction, if not the National Pact will lose the legitimacy that has acquired in and outside Brazil.

The Story
What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.

Cresci em um bairro pobre da periferia de São Paulo. Desde cedo, guiado pela indignação de ver a maior parte da população excluída de sua cidadania, participei de atividades de defesa dos direitos humanos. Formei-me em jornalismo porque vi na profissão uma boa ferramenta para auxiliar na transformação da sociedade.
I grew in a poor neighborhood of São Paulo. From early times, guided by the indignation of seeing most of the population excluded of their citizenship, I took part in activities of human rights defense. I graduated in journalism because I saw in this profession a good tool to help in transforming society.

After working in communication vehicles and travel the country and to other poor nations, I realized that it was necessary to create an instrument that allied communication to direct action. We founded Repórter Brasil in 2001 aiming to bring to public knowledge social problems and to act for making human rights effectual. We believe that it is possible to use information as a strong instrument of social transformation. Among all ways of exploitation, we decided to act against the worst one, modern-day slavery that takes away dignity and freedom.

We developed projects in combating slavery through education, communication and political lobby. Through our researches, we realized that the easy profit is one of the engines that impel slave labor. We conducted a series of pilot-researches to identify how commodities produced through this crime flow off. Realizing that companies could contribute, we started to conduct large researches in productive chains that resulted in the National Plan.

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material

He is journalist and PhD in Political Sciences in Universidade de São Paulo. He covered independence war in East Timor (1998) and the Angolan civil war (1999). He was journalism professor in Universidade de São Paulo and was awarded in the journalism and human rights areas, as Vladimir Herzog and Combating Slave Work Awards. Fellow Social Entrepreneur of Ashoka, he is coordinator of Repórter Brasil and its representative in National Commission for Eradication of Slave Work. He was writer of the Second National Plan for Eradication of Slave Work.

Emphasis of Work

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