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UN Expert on contemporary forms of slavery in first fact-finding visit to Brazil

GENEVA (14 May 2010) – UN Special Rapporteur, Gulnara Shahinian, will visit Brazil from 17 to 28 May 2010, in what will be the first fact-finding mission to the country by a Human Rights Council independent expert monitoring contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences.

“Brazil has put in place a number of laws and programmes to combat contemporary forms of slavery such as forced labour,” said Ms. Shahinian. “This visit provides me with an exceptional opportunity to examine and report on the impact of these interventions.”

Contemporary forms of slavery include –amongst other things- debt bondage, forced labour, domestic servitude and the worst forms of child labour.

The Special Rapporteur, who is visiting the country at the invitation of the Government, will travel to Brasilia, São Paulo, Cuiabá and Açailânidia to hold discussions with government representatives, members of the judicial branch, representatives of non-governmental organizations, community members, academics, and others working in this field.

A press conference will be held in Brasilia at the conclusion Ms. Shahinian’s visit - on Thursday, 27 May 2010, with additional information to follow.

Ms. Shahinian will present the visit’s findings at the Human Rights Council in September 2010.

Gulnara Shahinian was appointed as the first Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, its causes and consequences in May 2008. She is a lawyer with extensive experience as an expert consultant for various UN, EU, Council of Europe, OSCE and government bodies on children’s rights, gender, migration and trafficking. Ms Shahinian is also a former trustee of the UN Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary forms of Slavery.