U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Brazil

Brazil (Tier 2)

Brazil is a source and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Women and girls are trafficked internally for sexual exploitation and to neighboring countries in South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Japan, and the Middle East. The ILO estimated in 2002 that 450,000 children, mostly girls, are employed as domestic servants and vulnerable to abuse. Approximately 70,000 Brazilians, mostly women, are engaged in prostitution in foreign countries and many are trafficking victims; their major destinations are countries in Europe, particularly Spain, and South America and Japan. Sex tourists target young Brazilians, particularly in the resort areas and cities of Brazil's northeast. Trafficking for forced agricultural labor remains a major problem, with most of the more than 25,000 victims recruited from small towns in Brazil's northeast. Authorities have uncovered cases of Bolivian men, women, and children trafficked to work in sweatshops; Chinese and Koreans have been trafficked to Brazil for similar 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 strengthen law enforcement efforts against traffickers and update anti-trafficking legislation to impose tough sanctions against internal and transnational trafficking of humans of all ages and both genders. Of particular concern are the government's insufficient efforts to confront widespread trafficking for the purpose of forced labor.


The government's law enforcement efforts remained inadequate and hampered by antiquated trafficking statutes during the reporting period. The country's existing anti-trafficking law addresses only transnational trafficking of women for sexual exploitation; it lacks strong criminal penalties for labor trafficking, which is a significant problem in Brazil. Brazilian courts handed down only three convictions for transnational trafficking for sexual exploitation in 2004; prison sentences imposed ranged from eight to 30 years. Government teams investigated approximately 250 complaints regarding forced labor and rescued 2,743 victims of forced labor in 2004; employers generally paid fines and compensation to rescued victims and risked losing access to government financial aid programs, but did not face criminal prosecution. The Federal Police worked with counterparts in Spain, Italy, Canada, Portugal, and Switzerland on combating trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, including some child sex tourism cases.


The government geared most of its protective efforts toward domestic victims, particularly children, and provided some funding to NGOs active in victim assistance. Service providers assisted a wide range of victims of exploitation, not just trafficking victims. The Sentinela program provided more than 400 screening centers throughout the country to evaluate and refer at-risk children. Two newly established state-level anti-trafficking offices began screening victims, and referred cases to NGOs and federal police. Brazilians trafficked abroad received significantly less assistance, though the government initiated training for diplomats working in destination countries. Seven reference centers throughout the country worked with victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation and the State of Sao Paulo opened an office at Sao Paulo's international airport to assist repatriated Brazilian trafficking victims.


Brazil's President has raised the profile of human trafficking as a problem and has declared the fight against trafficking a national priority. The federal government established a Comprehensive Program for the Prevention and Fight Against Trafficking and funded national public information campaigns to combat child sex tourism and trafficking for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Information campaigns also raise awareness of the dangers of trafficking for sexual exploitation through brochures distributed with newly issued Brazilian passports, radio spots, and poster campaigns at Brazil's major airports. The State Governments of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Ceara, and Goias established anti-trafficking offices in 2004 to improve coordination and implementation of public awareness campaigns and cooperation and training for civil society, including businesses and workers in the travel industry. The Ministry of Justice continued training judges, police, social workers, and psychologists on recognizing and combating trafficking.


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