A BRAZILIAN woman who spent almost four decades as an unpaid domestic servant and was forced into marriage has been rescued by authorities.
The 46-year-old woman was given to a university professor by her poor parents at the age of 8 and has worked at his home ever since as an unpaid maid. She was even forced into marrying a member of his family but has now been freed in a rare case of action against Brazil’s rampant modern slavery problem.
Neighbours in the family’s apartment block in the small southeastern city of Pato de Minas notified authorities when they received notes from the woman asking for food and hygiene products, as she had no money. An investigator told Reuters that the family “gave her food when she was hungry, but all other rights were taken from her”.
The university that employed the professor says he has been dismissed, and police are investigating the family who allegedly enslaved the woman for close to four decades. The woman is currently being treated by psychologists and social workers, who are trying to reunite her with her long-lost biological family.
Domestic servitude abuse is difficult for Brazillian authorities to tackle as many victims don’t see themselves as modern slaves and cases are rarely reported.
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