Brazilian Prosecutor Accuses Volkswagen of Horrific Human Rights Abuses

A prosecutor in Brazil said Tuesday that Volkswagen committed horrific human-rights violations on its farm in the Amazon rainforest basin in the 1970s and ’80s.  

According to lead prosecutor Rafael Garcia, investigators have collected sworn evidence from victims who said they were promised lucrative jobs but then forced to work in the jungle against their will under grueling conditions to build Volkswagen’s cattle ranch. 

“Workers who tried to escape were beaten, tied to trees, and left there for days,” Garcia said

“Those who tried to slip into the forest never came back — there were simply stories that they had been killed. Workers were systematically, physically abused,” Garcia added. 

Garcia said investigations of the case started after a local Catholic priest presented horrifying accounts of abuse he had compiled over the years.  

“One worker tried to escape, but the gunmen caught him. As punishment, they kidnapped his wife and raped her,” the compilation stated, citing three witnesses. 

On Sunday, local media reported that Volkswagen Group (VW) said it is taking the Brazilian investigation seriously.  

“We can assure you that we take the possible events at Fazenda Rio Cristalino, to which the investigation by the Brazilian investigating authorities refers, very seriously,” VW said

The Brazilian prosecutors have scheduled an initial hearing with VG on June 14. 

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