Contemporary slave labour on the Amazonian frontier: the problems and politics of post rescue solidarity

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This paper addresses the deepening vulnerability of both domestic and international migrant workers to contemporary slave labour and the challenges for its eradication in the Brazilian Amazonian state of Mato Grosso. Drawing upon the experiences of 40 workers 'rescued' from contemporary slave labour, the paper shows that the repetitive experiences of contemporary slave labour by subjects and the authoritarian turn in Brazil evokes a conceptual reinterpretation of solidarity and its operationalization. It must move away from the distinct liberal approach in the state paradigm to focus on class and agrarian based solidarity and their understanding of liberation. The paper redefines solidarity as structural and relational notion that engages with the epistemic insight of unfree workers to define the terms of their own freedom, pointing towards humanizing, and self-emancipating alternatives that challenge roots of class oppression and slave labour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)937-954
Number of pages18
Issue number6
Early online date10 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2022


  • labour migration
  • migrant workers
  • unfree labour
  • contemporary slave labour
  • solidarity


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