Last Updated: Friday, 27 November 2015, 12:04 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Brazil

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 14 June 2004
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Brazil, 14 June 2004, available at: [accessed 29 November 2015]
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 source and destination country for men, women and children trafficked for sexual exploitation and involuntary labor. Women and girls are trafficked to neighboring countries in South America, the Caribbean, the United States, and Western Europe. Some 75,000 Brazilian women and girls are estimated to be in prostitution in Europe, with 5,000 more in countries in Latin America. Many are trafficking victims. Internal trafficking also targets Brazilian children, often in the context of sex tourism. Internal trafficking for forced labor, primarily from urban to rural areas for agricultural work, is a major problem. The ILO estimates 25,000 Brazilians are victims of forced labor trafficking. Bolivians and Chinese are also trafficked into Brazil for labor exploitation.

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. Brazil needs to significantly strengthen law enforcement efforts against traffickers. Traffickers in Brazil rarely face incarceration as punishment for their crimes. Although the government has given new energy to prevention measures and victim protection, those efforts are incomplete without more effective law enforcement.


Brazil's law enforcement efforts, though improving, have yet to produce many criminal convictions. Anti-trafficking laws that punish both sex and labor traffickers exist and are generally enforced, but violators rarely receive criminal penalties. The Labor Ministry continues to liberate victims of labor trafficking (4,700 in 2003) and fine the traffickers. Criminal cases are handed over to Justice Ministry prosecutors. Although complete data is unavailable, officials estimate that 50-100 labor trafficking defendants were prosecuted in 2003. Many of these court proceedings have not reached conclusion. Only a few defendants have been convicted, and all of them remain free on appeal. The government provided no data on persons prosecuted for trafficking women into the sex trade (under Penal Code Art. 231), but the ILO reports that over the past three years federal authorities brought 68 such cases to court (some with more than one defendant). Most of these cases are still open. To date there have been few convictions.


The government's protection efforts have yielded mixed results. Officials make significant efforts to protect Brazilian victims at home, but victims abroad receive significantly less assistance. The Ministry of Social Assistance operates more than 335 centers nationwide (the Sentinel Program) to assist victims of exploitation. The government also operates seven centers specifically to assist trafficking victims, but some foreign victims are summarily deported. No special facilities exist to help Brazilian victims abroad; they receive standard citizen services, but generally no more. The government has failed to develop an aggressive policy to help such victims, many of whom are victims of sexual exploitation.


President Lula has declared on several occasions that fighting trafficking is a national priority. He has announced a Comprehensive Program, now in progress, though much remains to be done. The government developed a national plan to prevent sexual violence against youth, and there are pro-grams to prevent the worst forms of child labor. The federal government also funds information campaigns to combat sex tourism, child sexual exploitation, and labor trafficking. Federal authorities are attempting to improve monitoring of the highway system, border crossings and the coastline. Given the relatively scarce resources available to patrol Brazil's extensive land borders, the authorities will have to develop better intelligence to combat trafficking by land routes.

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