Child Labor in Brazil's Açaí Industry

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A story about a 12-year-old boy who escaped from child labor in the açaí industry in Brazil. Açaí has become a popular ingredient in the international wellness movement.

Child Labor, Açaí Industry, Brazil, Wellness Movement

Hiding in a bedroom, the boy quietly wrung his hands. Strangers were at the door. He worried they had come to take him back to the life he had just escaped — out in the açaí orchards, where he had been made to risk his life gathering fruit from trees as high as 60 feet. Ana Maria Rodrigues, a municipal social worker, assured him that he was safe.

The boy, Izaque Pimentel Rocha, 12, stepped nervously out, bearing scars on his arms and legs as reminders of the dangers he endured as a child laborer in the $1.6 billion açaí industry. Açaí, valued for its nutritive benefits, has become a sought-after ingredient for smoothies and bowls in the international hipster wellness movement

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