Pastoral Land Commission – CPT

Youth of Maranhão combating slavery


Objectives and target audience

Acting to prevent and combat  overexploitation  of labor and slave labor and for access to public policy for all twelve Dioceses in the state of Maranhão, always directed mainly at the youth, in close collaboration with the entities already involved in this issue, while minimizing the effects of economic inequality and lack of access to public policy in the state.

Main activities

The activities sponsored by the project will be divided on three axes:

– Slave labor prevention: training activities will be held, including courses, workshops, meetings, seminars and lectures on the theme, “Overexploitation of labor and slave labor,” in order to foster indignation in the youth as well as the desire to create change.  All formative activities will include action plans for development by a chapter of Youth Against Slave Labor in their community or town.

– Activities to summon and empower youth in search of better living conditions for themselves and the rest of society.  To this end, partnerships with the responsible organs will be sought out, to encourage them to participate more assertively in preparation and financial and technical support, in order to increase productivity  in Maranhão towns.

– Public Policies: Activities to inspire the creation or application of public policies that benefit the entire population, especially youth.  In this sense, municipal or regional Diocese meetings will be held with the state and municipal government offices responsible for the application and creation of such policies.


According to Labor and Employment Ministry and Pastoral Commission data, Maranhão is the Brazilian state that produces the largest part of the workforce in overexpoitative or slave labor conditions.  Between 2003 and 2012, 7,313 workers born in the state were freed (25.5% of the total).

Aside from being the largest contemporary exporter of victims, slavery itself, or exploitation analogous to it, also takes place in Maranhão.  From 2003 to 2012, there were 260 cases involving 4,898 workers (with 147 inspections and 2,344 persons freed).

Of all of the 28,702 workers rescued from slavery in Brazil between 2003 and 2012, 64.8% were 34 years old or younger.  Thus, the majority of enslaved workers in Brazil are youth, hence the necessity of raising youth awareness.  In the state there is no systematic work in civil society for prevention and reporting.

About the organization

The Pastoral Land Commission of the Balsas Diocese (MA) has been active over 16 years at the side, and in defense, of peasants, rural workers, landless, homeless, the unemployed and outcast of 18 Maranhão municipalities, offering educational and transformational services together with communities, stimulating and reinforcing their empowerment.


The CPT is connected through partnerships with the State Human Rights Council, the Carajás Forum, the Parnaíba River Defense Forum, the Southern Maranhão Cerrado Populations Defense Forum, the People’s Trial of the Judiciary, the National Campaign for the Prevention and Combat of Slave Labor, Pastoral Collective Against Slave Labor, Mandioca Network, Cerrado Vivo Nucleus and the Balsas Support Forum.


The project allowed for training in rights and public policies for youth and people in general, audiences with communities from municipalities in the region, a course on slave labor, arranging municipal conferences concerning public policies and visits to nine municipalities with the State Ombudsman for Public Security to register and forward solutions to situations of violence involving young people.

Funding Line

Annual Call for Proposals



Total Granted

R$ 39,800


12 months

Main Themes


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