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"Sex Sells?" Brazilian Brewery Forced Prostitutes On This Salesman As...Motivation

UOL (Brazil), AP

SAO PAULO - It was a labor rights story that made world headlines -- and prompted more than a few winks and one-liners. A Brazilian worker for Latin America's biggest brewer was awarded 50,000 reals ($25,000) earlier this month after suing his employer for using prostitutes to motivate sales employees.

Now the plaintiff has told Brazilian News website UOL that there was nothing funny at all about what he went through. Elcio Milczwski, 34, recounted how he was forced by his ex-employer at AmBev — Anheuser Busch subsidiary InBev's Brazilian unit — to rub prostitutes’ bodies with oil and watch porn videos. This was part of motivation sessions promoted by his boss before going to sales.

“I felt like crap,” Milczwski told UOL.

Last Monday, the court released a statement saying Milczwski was once tied up at work and forced to watch pornographic films and a stripper performed in his office, the AP reported. The statement described the plaintiff as a married evangelical Christian.

Milczwski joined AmBev in 2001. His job was visit bars and restaurants to take note of beverage orders.

“The manager started to bring hookers as a way to motivate the crew. But nobody was ever told this was going to happen and, once inside, you couldn’t leave the room," he recalled of the episodes, which took place in 2003 and 2004. "We were all forced to rub the girls’ bodies with oil and we were pushed against them. Those who didn’t agree were bullied. Those who reached goals got a free night with one of the girls.”

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Economy

Russian Diamonds Are Belgium's Best Friend — But For How Much Longer?

Belgium has lobbied hard for the past year to keep Russian diamonds off the list of sanctioned goods. Indeed, there would be a huge impact on the economy of the port city of Antwerp, if Europe finally joins with the U.S. and others in banning sale of so-called "blood diamonds" from Russia. But a 10th package of EU sanctions arriving this month may finally be the end of the road.

Photo of a technician examining the condition of a diamond in Antwerp, Belgium

A technician examining the condition of a diamond in Antwerp, Belgium

Wang Xiaojun / Xinhua via ZUMA Wire

Since Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, the European Union has agreed to nine different packages of sanctions against Russia. With the aim to punish Moscow's leadership and to cripple the war economy, European bans and limits have been placed on imports of a range of Russian products from coal, gas and steal to caviar and vodka — were successively banned over the past 11 months.

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Still, one notable Russian export is a shining exception to the rule, still imported into Europe as if nothing has changed: diamonds.

Russian state conglomerate Alrosa, which accounts for virtually all of the country's diamond production (95%) and deals with more than one-fourth of total global diamond imports, has been chugging along, business as usual.

But that may be about to change, ahead of an expected 10th package of sanctions slated to be finalized in the coming weeks. During recent negotiations, with 26 of the 27 EU members agreeing on the statement that ALSROA’s diamonds should no longer be imported, the one holdout was not surprisingly Belgium.

The Belgian opposition to the ban is explained by the port city of Antwerp, where 85% of the rough diamonds in the world pass through to get cut, polished, and marketed. There are estimates that 30,000 Belgians work for Alrosa.

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