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Pureza Lopes Loyola

Brazil , Class of 2023

Pureza Lopes Loyola

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With the help of the Pastoral Land Commission, an anti-exploitation organization affiliated with the Catholic Church, Ms. Lopes Loyola approached officials in Brasília to denounce the awful conditions she had seen firsthand.

She wrote letters to three former Brazilian presidents: Fernando Collor, Itamar Franco, and Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Officials and lawmakers were reluctant to believe her; some discredited her testimonies, citing a lack of evidence.  With incredible determination, and armed with a camera and an audio recorder, Ms. Lopes Loyola returned to the farms, thoroughly documented the exploitation, and through her persistent advocacy spurred a national movement and a critical shift in the public’s understanding of forced labor.  Brazil’s GEFM brought together federal police officers and labor prosecutors to identify and support thousands of victims of labor exploitation, including labor trafficking, annually.

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