September 16, 2019
 In 2023-Worker Protection From Labor Exploitation

Country: Brazil
Delegate Name: Hope Orban

The International Labor Organization, or ILO, estimates that 50 million people are currently subject to forced labor or modern day slavery. Labor exploitation of all ages, genders, and ethnicities is taking place around the globe today. Unfortunately, it is not on a positive track. Global disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change coupled with human factors like artificial intelligence and intense migration policies are all aiding in the uptick of exploitative labor practices. The dynamics between first world consumer countries and third world producing countries is deeply complex and operates on an unjust system that cannot be easily changed. Many people faced with exploitative labor practices work in such conditions because they have no other opportunity to earn money to survive. The first step to addressing issues that exploit workers or lessen economic opportunity like sex trafficking, child labor, forced labor, and poor working conditions is to recognize them and find direct causes. The UNDP must aid in establishing and implementing standards that can address the currently expanding world of worker exploitation and protect affected parties.

Although it faces many inequalities and enormous challenges related to human rights, Brazil is seeking to become more equal and fair to its citizens. Slavery is illegal in Brazil. A type of slavery, “debt slavery,” still exists in rural areas, however it is illegal and the government seeks to end it. However, despite the current administration’s goals to end this type of servitude, more work must be done to ensure that policies like this do not occur. Under Brazilian law, 16 is the minimum age to enter the labor market and 14 is the minimum age to work as an apprentice. However, according to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), more than 2.7 million minors between the ages of 5 and 17 worked in the country in 2015. This startling statistic reveals the current less than favorable situation of child labor in Brazil. Typically, children are forced to work in the agricultural sectors. At worst, children face sexual exploitation and face human trafficking. Young women are especially at risk; Brazil has a high rate of gender-based violence against women with 3.5 per 100,000 women falling victim. Bolivian and other migrant workers face discrimination, unfair policies, and unfair labor practices because of their lack of choice and power. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened all aspects of exploitative labor. Increasing economic stability led to more desperation and poverty, creating a perfect environment for exploitative labor practices to worsen. The Brazilian government has made it a priority to end child labor and other harmful institutions that put workers at risk for exploitation. 2017 was an important year for the country’s labor policies: Brazil ratified and subsequently implemented labor law amendments and additions. National plans implemented by the country since then and at present include: the National Plan to Combat Sexual Violence Against Children and Adolescents, the National Plan for the Eradication of Forced Labor, and the National Education Plan. All detailed goals for the end of labor exploitation and the propagation of a new generation of protected workers. The current government was able to raise the minimum wage 90 Brazilian reals in May 2023. The Brazilian populace, including celebrities, are involved in campaigns calling for the end of specifically child labor on mostly social media.

Protecting workers from exploitative labor is a multifaceted issue that will take a great volume of policies and reforms to fix. All countries suffer from similar injustices but for many different reasons. The challenge to solving this crisis will be difficult; policies must work for all involved countries. Causes must be individually addressed for all countries to come together to make a better future for all. If Sustainable Goal 8 is to be met globally, action must be taken as soon as possible. Brazil urges the UN to come to agreements on how to help and maintain unfair labor policy with all countries through the help of NGOs and preexisting or soon to be created subcommittees and initiatives.

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