Brazil enlists rappers for national campaign against child labor

by Fabio Teixeira | @ffctt | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Wednesday, 3 June 2020 17:18 GMT

A boy runs into the Negro River just before sunset in Manaus, northern Brazil November 1, 2009. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes

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In recent years, Brazilian labor authorities have financed documentaries, feature films and even cartoons on slavery, child labor and human trafficking

By Fabio Teixeira

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 3 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Brazilian labor authorities will use rap to raise awareness on child labor as part of a national campaign launched on Wednesday to address officials' fears that the coronavirus will push more youngsters into exploitative work.

A song written by famous Brazilian rappers Emicida and Drik Barbosa spearheads the campaign, with a weekly podcast and 12 social media videos about child slavery also set for release.

The campaign, with the slogan "Covid-19: now more than ever, protect children and adolescents from child labor", aims to curb child labor in Brazil.

"The pandemic ... pushes a series of families to the margins of society. Under pressure, these families have to put children in an inhumane situation," Emicida said in a statement.

"Our social chasms ... are deadly."

About 2.4 million children work in Brazil, according to government figures from 2016.

Last year a government hotline for human rights violations received about 86,000 reports relating to child abuse - more than half of the total calls received. Of those 4,245 related to child labor.

The campaign was commissioned in partnership between state bodies including Brazil's Labor Prosecutor's Office and the United Nation's International Labour Organization.

Brazilian labor authorities have been known to resort to popular culture to raise awareness about labor violations. In recent years, they have financed documentaries, feature films and even cartoons on slavery, child labor and human trafficking.

The song, "Sementes" or Seeds, was expected to be released this week but was delayed by the rappers to show solidarity with protesters in the United States and Brazil taking to the streets to denounce racism and police brutality against black people.

Emicida, who is a black, frequently references to police brutality and racism in his songs.

"The social gaps that we have produced since before the pandemic are proving to be much more deadly than the pandemic itself," he said.

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Coronavirus fuels surge in complaints about working conditions in Brazil

(Reporting by Fabio Teixeira @ffctt; Editing by Belinda Goldsmith Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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