Prisoners and Former Slaves Help Build World Cup Stadiums in Brazil, Recover Dignity and Uncover New Opportunities

Prisoners and Former Slaves Help Build World Cup Stadiums in Brazil, Recover Dignity and Uncover New OpportunitiesIn Brazil, some former labor slaves and current prisoners have been given a unique opportunity. They are helping the country build the stadiums that will host the 2014 FIFA World Cup, according to the Associated Press.

Nivaldo Inacio da Silva was rescued from a life of picking cotton on a farm by local authorities. They described the conditions under which he lived and work as "slave labor".

The labor ministry of the state of Mato Grosso put him in a work program, and he was one of 25 former labor slaves who are helping build the brand new Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, Brazil. It will host four FIFA World Cup games.

"My life is completely different now," said Silva. "A lot has changed. Now I'm making some good money, I'm really happy. I'm helping build one of these stadiums and hopefully one day I'll be able to show it to my children."

Silva started as an assistant bricklayer while working at the Arena Pantanal. He now earns more money than ever before.

Another work program gives people who have made mistakes a second chance at life.

Prisoners like Francisco das Chagas Queiroz were given the option of spending the entire day in a prison cell or helping build a soccer stadium in sun and shadow.

Queiroz was convicted of a bank robbery in the 1980s and has been in prison ever since. He is ecstatic about the new opportunity.

"This type of work gives us dignity, it gives us something to look forward to in the future," he said. "If we do a good job here, maybe the company will want to stay with us after we are set free."

The report says, "[The program] has already helped more than 2,200 prisoners across the country, and currently 59 are working in some of the 12 World Cup stadiums."

Photo via Flickr/Rodrigo Soldon

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