Latest modern slavery fight updates -

Forced Labor for Brazil’s ‘Chicken Catchers’

  • Published on
    December 1, 2017
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Debt Bondage, Forced Labor, Supply Chain
Hero Banner

Thousands of workers in Brazil’s poultry industry — namely ‘chicken catchers’ — are estimated to be victims of forced labor according to a new report from Washington-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).

Brazil is the world’s top exporter of poultry.

Under Brazilian law, forced labor is defined as a form of “modern-day slavery that includes debt bondage, degrading work conditions and long hours that pose a risk to workers’ health or life and violate their dignity.”

Thomson Reuters Foundation reports on the abuses documented by IATP:

In its poultry industry, teams of about 10 labourers known as chicken catchers collect the birds that are crammed onto large farms, working up to 20 hours and catching more than 50,000 chickens a day, the report said.

The back-breaking work of chicken catching is considered dirty and dangerous, as poultry can peck, claw and defecate as it is trapped.

“Workers tasked with catching these chickens and transporting them from farms to slaughterhouses suffer egregious working conditions,” said the report by IATP, Berlin-based Heinrich Boll Foundation and Brazilian rights group FASE.

The findings are particularly disturbing given that dozens of companies signed onto a 2007 National Pact for the Eradication of Slave Labor, which specifically aims to prevent the use of forced labor in their supply chains. One signatory, Brazil’s JBS SA, a global meatpacking company, issued a statement saying “all contracts signed by JBS have a specific clause that explicitly prohibits practices that may establish the use of labour analogous to slave and child labour.”

Another major company, Brazil’s BRF, a poultry exporters, and the ministry of labor did not respond for Thomson Reuters Foundation’s requests for comment.

Walk Free Foundation estimates that more than 160,000 people are believed to be trapped in modern slavery in Brazil.


Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This week

Rounded up and abandoned: Europe’s covert support of migrant atrocities

It is well documented that inhumane immigration policies are forcing migrants to take extremely risky routes on their journey to seek asylum in Europe and globally. However, a year-long investigation by the Washington Post, Lighthouse Reports, and a consortium of international media outlets uncovered that migrant lives are not just at risk due to sketchy channel crossings and being packed in the back of refrigerator trucks. To dissuade sub-Saharan

| Wednesday May 22, 2024

Read more