Combating trafficking in persons in Brazil

Joint Project IPEC SAP-FL

Brazil’s sheer size, with 60 per cent of South America’s landmass, its level of poverty and social inequality – concomitant with the need to enhance the effectiveness of prosecuting trafficking in persons and sexual exploitation perpetrators – makes addressing trafficking in persons all the more difficult. Given this vast challenge, an effective law enforcement and prosecution response should include extensive collaboration and commitment by government agencies at all three levels of Brazil, employers’ organizations and the private sector, trade unions, the non-governmental organization community, and the general public to directly and/or indirectly support efforts to combat trafficking in persons, sex tourism and sexual exploitation activities.

As stated above, the legislative framework in Brazil is largely in place. The institutional framework of the Government of Brazil is elaborate, and a number of policies and programs have been designed to prevent and end the commercial sexual and forced labor exploitation outcomes of trafficking in persons. Similarly, Brazil has a dynamic civil society, who has helped position the crime of trafficking in women and men, girls and boys as a priority item on the political agenda.

Nevertheless, there is a need to address impunity and to strengthen the law enforcement and prosecution response to combat internal and transnational human trafficking in Brazil.

Description of the project

The project will contribute to combating trafficking in persons in Brazil through a more effective law enforcement response and through an increase in the capacity of public and civil society organizations, at the Federal, state and municipal levels, to enforce the law and implement anti-trafficking in persons policies and programs. To achieve this objective, the following parallel strategies will be implemented:

  • Expanding the knowledge base to assist law enforcement action and anti-trafficking in persons policy and program implementation;
  • Strengthening the national capacity to enforce legislation, prosecute cases of trafficking in persons and revise the normative framework , in accordance to the international labour standards and national laws, as well as other concerned international conventions ratified by Brazil;
  • Promoting bilateral and multilateral technical cooperation and agreements to fight trafficking in persons;
  • Mainstreaming trafficking issues into existing social policies, programs and plans; and
  • Awareness raising and mobilization of key actors for prevention and attention to trafficking victims.

While the predominant focus of this project is national in character, the ILO and its partners will select municipalities and states in which to promote models of collaboration between key law enforcement agencies and civil society organizations to combat trafficking in persons (pilot interventions).

Training and capacity building interventions – based on ILO standards and other international conventions, such as the Palermo Protocol – will be focused, inter alia, on increasing the number of women and men, girls and boys rescued by the Federal police, Federal highway patrol, state level police, border police, immigration officials and other law enforcement agencies as well as the number of trafficking victims rescued and withdrawn from commercial sexual and forced labor exploitation. Through collaboration with prosecutors and judges, the goal is also to increase the rate of prosecuted cases of trafficking, and identifying networks and mechanisms for referring trafficked women and men, girls and boys to protection and assistance programs and shelters.

Before interventions related to awareness raising begin and after they take place, the ILO will carry out KAP, baseline surveys, ex-post and ex-ante evaluations as well as gap analyses of legal and law enforcement services, in order to improve and measure the effectiveness and impact of the integrated set of state and municipality level interventions.

According to Article 9 of the Palermo Protocol, countries shall establish comprehensive policies, programs and other measures to prevent and combat trafficking in persons and to protect victims of trafficking from re-victimization. The ILO sees the inclusion of trafficking in persons strategies in existing social policies and programs as essential, as this can lead to the prevention of trafficking and stronger support and assistance to women and men, girls and boys trafficked into commercial sexual or forced labor exploitation.

The rights of the victims of trafficking are clearly stated in the Article 6 of the Palermo Protocol. Countries should provide physical, psychological and social support to the victims, including cooperation with non-governmental organizations and civil society. Age, gender and special needs of the victims (such as race in the case of Brazil) should be taken into account. In addition, compensation for damage suffered should be offered to victims. Measures to avoid immediate deportation should be taken, and in cases of repatriation, safety of victims should be secured (Article 7 and 8).

Based on the current experience developed in the past ten years in Brazil, the ILO will provide assistance for the revision of domestic legislation and approaches concerning the safety and protection of victims, as this can lead to an increased number of successful prosecutions. Under this project, the ILO will work with UNODC to cooperate with local authorities and non-governmental organizations in developing victims protection programs.