The non-governmental organization La Alameda has launched a campaign against slave labor in Argentina, alleging that 200 years after the foundation was laid for the abolition of slavery in the South American nation, the practice had "changed form" and affected nearly 500,000 people.

"There are 27 million people subjected to slavery in the world, according to U.N. figures, and we have at least half a million in Argentina," La Alameda president Gustavo Vera told Efe.

The non-governmental organization has been working for a decade to end labor exploitation and people trafficking in Argentina.

"Some 99 percent (of the victims) are immigrants who were brought here with promises of work and housing," Vera said.

La Alameda has filed complaints against 105 textile firms for allegedly having workers "in clandestine workshops with shifts of up to 14 hours."

The worst industries for labor exploitation are textiles, with 78 percent of workers employed on the margins of labor legislation, and agriculture, where informal employment reaches 60 percent, La Alameda says.

The government declared Thursday a holiday to mark the bicentennial of the assembly that granted freedom to the children of slaves born in Argentina.

The South American country, however, "does not have a national policy to eradicate" slavery, Vera said. EFE