Police have discovered a group of 79 people living in slave-like conditions on a Brazilian farm, The Independent reported.
An ongoing investigation found that what was viewed as a religious cult is run by Igreja Adventista Remanescente de Laodiceia, a religious community of about 300 people in the capital city of Brasilia. The apparently slavish people are believed to have laboured on the farm for little or no pay, as members of the cult preferred to silently endure all hardships instead of asking for assistance.
Labour inspector Rodrigo Ramos commented on the issue, noting that they observed “strong psychological coercion” among the workers at the farm, adding that the followers apparently believed that they work for their “own spiritual salvation” ahead of doomsday. "They think the world is nearing its end, and that they can be saved [by staying] in this community", the inspector added.
Ramos said that the leaders of the cult will be charged for keeping workers in slave-like conditions and will have to pay compensation to those harmed by their activities if found guilty, as according to the official the cult leaders were solely “enriching themselves off” the work carried out by their followers.
This is not the first time that Brazilian authorities have launched an investigation due to activities on a religious site. Last year, they found 565 suspected slaves working for the church of Igreja Cristã Traduzindo o Verbo across three states of the country, but struggled to stop the abuse, as some of the suspected slaves refused to be rescued, expressing willingness to continue to work voluntarily.