Brazilian prosecutors have summoned Volkswagen do Brasil to a hearing on June 14 about possible slave labor on a subsidiary’s Amazon farm in the 1970s and 80s. This emerges from a message from the prosecutor responsible for labor law in Brasília on Monday.

The investigation began in 2019 after prosecutors received documentation from a slave labor research group at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. “We can assure you that we take the events described on the Fazenda Rio Cristalino very seriously,” said a spokesman for Volkswagen AG on request. However, due to a possible legal process in Brazil, they do not want to comment further.

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Prosecutor Rafael Garcia Rodrigues said Volkswagen was responsible for the alleged serious human rights violations committed at the farm known as “Fazenda Volkswagen” in Santana do Araguaia, Pará state.

These are said to have included a lack of medical care, accommodation in inhospitable places without access to drinking water and poor nutrition. In addition, armed surveillance or debt bondage are said to have prevented workers from leaving the farm.

According to the investigator, the “Fazenda Volkswagen” was one of the largest companies in the rural Amazon region, and the car company wanted to get into the meat business at the time. It was founded in the 1970s and supported by the Brazilian military dictatorship that wanted to develop the Amazon.