Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Brazil

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 11 June 2003
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Brazil, 11 June 2003, available at: [accessed 28 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Brazil (Tier 2)

Brazil is a major source country for women and children trafficked into prostitution primarily in Europe, but also in Japan and some border countries. There is a significant internal problem with trafficking of men and children into forced labor in agriculture, mines, and charcoal production facilities. A small percentage of tourists to Brazil, primarily from Europe and the United States, go in search of sex with children, some of whom are trafficked.

The Government of Brazil does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government has made notable efforts to free slaves and fight sex tourism. Since his inauguration in January 2003, President Lula issued two important executive orders: a government-wide initiative to combat sexual exploitation of minors, and a proposal for tougher punishments of those who use forced labor. These efforts are a good first step toward needed improvements on enforcement.


The Ministry of Tourism ran an international public awareness campaign to combat sex tourism, which included pamphlet placement on flights into Brazil that explained the country's laws against sexual exploitation of minors to every traveler that gets a visa, and public service announcements in Brazil. The National Human Rights Secretariat conducted a national campaign against sexual exploitation of children. The government coordinates with NGOs and the private sector to combat forced labor through the Executive Group to Reduce Forced Labor (GERTRAF).


Brazil does not have a comprehensive trafficking law, but has a collection of laws that may be used to prosecute some traffickers. The Federal Police, which has primary responsibility for investigating international sex trafficking crimes, managed to make about 100 arrests last year even though it is understaffed and underfunded. However, weak efforts at prosecution yielded only a few convictions. Mobile inspection units from the Ministry of Labor and Employment freed more than 1,740 laborers from forced work camps, but there were few, if any, criminal proceedings.


Brazil has a variety of assistance programs, but most are underfunded. The most extensive is the Sentinel Program, which counts more than 400 centers to assist child and adolescent victims of sexual abuse. The National Coordinator's Office to Combat Sex Trafficking under the Ministry of Justice is foundering and so far has done little to coordinate governmental efforts or marshal sufficient resources. Seven regional reference centers for victims of sex trafficking throughout the country are staffed with dedicated professional psychologists, social workers, medical doctors, lawyers, and police liaisons. But they are unpaid volunteers operating with little or no budgets. The government works with NGOs to provide assistance to victims and operate the small scale witness protection program. Government officials who may come in contact with victims, both domestically and abroad, receive training on how to best protect and assist.

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