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Enslaved workers make charcoal used to make basic steel ingredient

Author: Michael Smith & David Voreacos, Bloomberg News, Published on: 21 January 2007

[P]ig iron [that] will end up in cars and trucks made...by Ford, General Motors, Nissan [,] Toyota [and]...that goes into steel used by Whirlpool...and is used in foundries at Kohler...can be traced to slaves in Brazil...Ford, General Motors and Kohler say they didn't know that steel they were using was made from material produced with the help of slaves...Whirlpool opposes involuntary labor and complies with laws in all countries, spokeswoman Jody Lau says...U.S. Customs records show...Toyota Tsusho's U.S. unit bought at least seven shipments of pig iron from Usina Siderurgica de Maraba (Usimar)...Usimar purchased charcoal from a camp where Brazilian inspectors in May found 22 people...who weren't being paid for their work...The immigration and customs-enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is investigating imports of commodities from Brazil that may have been produced by forced labor, spokesman Dean Boyd says. Companies that knowingly buy such products can be prosecuted under the U.S. Tariff Act of 1930, he says. In response to the Bloomberg News story, the U.S. Congress began an investigation in December. [also refers to National Material Trading, Intermet, Cia. Siderurgica do Para (Cosipar), Honda, Nucor]

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Related companies: Cosipar (Companhia Siderurgica do Pará) Ford General Motors Honda Intermet Kohler Nissan Nucor Toyota Whirlpool