Forced labour

Consolidating and Disseminating Efforts to Combat Forced Labour in Brazil and Peru

The overall purpose of the project is to strengthen efforts to combat forced labour in Brazil and Peru.


Brazil ratified ILO’s Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29) in 1957 and the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105) in 1965. The Government acknowledged the existence of contemporary forced labour before the ILO and the international community in 1995, and requested ILO technical assistance, making Brazil a leading example of a country committed to solving, rather than denying that problem. The Brazilian regions with the highest levels of rural forced labour and those where victims of forced labour come from are affected by various historical, political and economic problems. Unlike other Latin American countries, in Brazil most victims of forced labour are not indigenous Amazonians, but rather non-white workers (black or mixed-race) from the North-East region, a few children and adolescents, in particular from the poorest states with the least labour and employment opportunities (ILO, Global Report, 2005). The region with the highest incidence of forced labour in Brazil stretches across those states considered to be part of the Legal Amazon. Forced labour has been most commonly found in activities linked to illegal deforestation for cattle raising and large agricultural plantations (i.e. grains and sugar cane).

On the other hand, the Peruvian government has formally expressed its interest in the Brazilian experience to support their own national effort to confront the problem through a request sent to USDOL in January 2013 and during consultations conducted by the ILO in Lima in April and September 2013. It also signed an agreement with the Brazilian Government in 2006, to promote the exchange of experiences between labour inspectors, with a focus on forced labour. With regular technical assistance from the ILO, Peru has built on a few of the Brazilian experience and has taken steps to address forced labour. In 2007, the National Commission for the Fight against Forced Labour was established. The same year, the Commission launched the National Plan for the Fight against Forced Labour. In 2007, the Peruvian government undertook a reform of their penal code in order to adapt it to the Palermo Protocol, however it lacks a specific article on Forced Labour. In addition, the government is undertaking the final steps for the regulation of a recently created National Labour Inspection Superintendence (SUNAFIL) under the Ministry of Labour and Employment Promotion. Despite the progress made, forced labour persists in Peru and is directly related to pervasive instances of discrimination, in particular against indigenous peoples, lack of economic opportunities and poverty. Victims are generally unaware of their rights and the protection against forced labour offered by the State. The Peruvian government wishes to strengthen its cooperation ties with Brazil through horizontal and South-South cooperation mechanisms to exchange good practices to address forced labour.

A first prospective mission from Brazilian authorities to Peru has been conducted in order to identify a cooperation agenda and establish an action plan.


The overall purpose of the project is to strengthen efforts to combat forced labour in Brazil and Peru. The project strategy is in line with the support ILO has been providing to Brazil on the issue of forced labour since 2002 and contributes to consolidating the country's experience while disseminating good practices. Its main objectives are to:
  • increase knowledge on forced labour among key stakeholders in Brazil;
  • increase social dialogue and institutional capacity for public policy implementation to eradicate forced labour at the national and state levels in Brazil;
  • increase engagement of the private sector and employers’ organizations to combat forced labour in Brazil;
  • reduce socioeconomic vulnerability of groups susceptible to forced labour; and
  •  improve policies to combat forced labour in Peru.

Main Activities

The project aims to effectively combat trafficking in persons by using a rights-based and victim centred approach. The activities focussed on are:
  1. review and create a monitoring mechanism of the Brazilian National Action Plan;
  2. provision of technical assistance and general support through trainings, workshops, roundtables, seminars;
  3. research and policy reform;
  4. restructure the National Pact for the Eradication of Forced Labour
  5. build partnership with workers’ organisations and NGOs;
  6. elaborate awareness raising strategies and campaigns; and
  7. capacity training programmes for key stakeholders;
  8. provide livelihood services for victims and vulnerable population.


Governmental Agencies (Ministries of Labour and Employment,, Interior and Justice, Social Development), trade union representatives, employer’s organizations, civil society organizations involved in the fight against forced labour and the provision of livelihood servicers, law enforcement officials, media professionals, and academics.


Direct beneficiaries include forced labour victims; their families and the vulnerable population. Indirect beneficiaries are mainly the members of the National Commissions to fight Forced Labour.