Last Updated: Thursday, 26 November 2015, 08:53 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Brazil

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 5 June 2006
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Brazil, 5 June 2006, available at: [accessed 26 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 Watch List)

Brazil is a source and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation, and for men trafficked for forced labor. Women and girls are trafficked for sexual exploitation within Brazil and to destinations in South America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, Japan, the U.S., and the Middle East. Approximately 70,000 Brazilians, mostly women, are engaged in prostitution in foreign countries; some are trafficking victims. Child sex tourism is a problem within the country, particularly in the resort areas and coastal cities of Brazil's northeast. An estimated 25,000 Brazilian victims, mostly men, are trafficked within the country for forced agricultural labor. Some foreign victims from Bolivia, Peru, China, and Korea are trafficked to Brazil for labor exploitation in factories but the number of foreign victims is much smaller than the number of Brazilians trafficked from or within the country.

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 is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to show evidence of increasing efforts to fight trafficking, specifically for its failure to apply effective criminal penalties against traffickers who exploit forced labor. However, the government did enact reforms to modernize and strengthen laws against some types of trafficking and continued to work with destination countries to disrupt international trafficking networks. The government should make appreciable progress in increasing prosecutions and convictions of traffickers, and institute and implement more effective criminal penalties for forced labor trafficking.


The Government of Brazil made marginal progress in bringing traffickers to justice during the reporting period. The government increased trafficking-related arrests and investigations, in cooperation with foreign governments, which led to convictions of foreign nationals by their host governments. There was only one reported prosecution in Brazil that resulted in a conviction at the national level for a trafficking-related crime during the reporting period – a decrease from three convictions obtained in 2004. Although the government increased personnel dedicated to investigations of forced labor operations and rescued 4,113 forced labor victims in 2005, violators of forced labor laws enjoyed virtual impunity from criminal prosecution. However, there were some unconfirmed reports that traffickers were convicted at the state level and in state labor courts for trafficking-related crimes. The government enacted criminal code reforms that broaden the definition of trafficking to cover victims of both sexes, and provide the same penalties for both internal and international trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. The crime of trafficking for sexual exploitation now carries a three- to eight-year penalty that increases in aggravated circumstances, such as acts involving young victims, abuse of authority, violence, or serious injury. Criminal code reforms did not add trafficking for forced labor to Brazilian law's definition of trafficking. Criminal statutes against slavery that can be used against traffickers for forced labor carry a possible prison term of one to three years and a fine, but forced labor cases are rarely prosecuted. Federal authorities arrested 180 trafficking suspects and investigated five cases in 2005. Borders agents began to screen for potential victims. The Federal Police continued to work with counterparts in Portugal, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Mexico, and the United States on trafficking cases that involved the exploitation of Brazilian victims abroad and arrested 56 suspects in Brazil as a result of these joint investigations. There was no evidence of institutional complicity in trafficking, but isolated instances of officials employing slave labor were reported. In the only confirmed prosecution during the period, a senator was convicted and fined for exploiting workers in slave-like conditions.


The Brazilian government made significant efforts to protect victims during the reporting period. The government cooperated with a number of shelters or health care facilities specifically dedicated to trafficking victims and workers at more than 600 victim assistance centers throughout the country were trained to assist trafficking victims, in addition to victims of other crimes such as domestic violence. Referral centers with multidisciplinary staff offered psychological and social assistance and referred victims to appropriate health and legal services. An additional network of over 400 centers evaluated and referred at-risk children, including child victims of commercial sexual exploitation and sex tourism. The State of Sao Paulo continued working with an NGO to provide victim support to Brazilian women and girls returning through Sao Paulo from trafficking situations abroad. Several other state offices also referred trafficking victims to NGOs, although NGOs noted problems in some of these referral systems. The government also continued training its diplomatic personnel to recognize and assist trafficking victims. In general, the rights of victims were respected and foreign victims who were material witnesses in their trafficker's prosecution could obtain other employment or leave the country.


The government sustained progress through strong efforts to raise public awareness and train officials. It continued major awareness campaigns to combat sex tourism, forced labor, and commercial sexual exploitation, and high level government officials spoke out against trafficking. In new initiatives, the government trained 360 law enforcement officials, including highway patrol officers, and civil servants to identify and assist trafficking victims. The government worked with the University of Brasilia to introduce a correspondence course that focused on trafficking and trained 600 professionals. Authorities also worked closely with NGOs, the ILO, and the UN on prevention, capacity building, and protection projects.

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