BRAZIL (TIER 2) [Extracted from U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June 2009]
is a source country for men, women, girls, and boys trafficked within the
country and transnationally for the purpose of commercial sexual
exploitation, as well as a source country for men and boys trafficked
internally for forced labor. The Brazilian Federal Police estimate that
250,000 to 400,000 children are exploited in domestic prostitution, in resort
and tourist areas, along highways, and in Amazonian mining brothels.
According to UNODC, sex trafficking of Brazilian women occurs in every
Brazilian state and the federal district. A large number of Brazilian women
and children, many from the state of Goias, are trafficked abroad for
commercial sexual exploitation, typically to Spain, Italy, Portugal, and The
Netherlands. Brazilian women and children also are trafficked for commercial
sexual exploitation to neighboring countries such as Suriname, Guyana, French
Guiana, Venezuela, and Paraguay. More than 25,000 Brazilian men are subjected
to slave labor within the country, typically on cattle ranches, sugar-cane
plantations, logging and mining camps, and large farms producing corn,
cotton, soy, and charcoal for pig iron. Some boys have been identified as
slave laborers in cattle ranching, mining, and the production of charcoal for
pig iron. Slave labor victims are commonly lured with promises of good pay by
local recruiters – known as gatos – in rural northeastern
states to interior locations. A growing trend documented in an extensive NGO
study released in early 2009 shows that approximately half of the more than
5,000 men freed from slave labor last year were found exploited on
plantations growing sugar cane for the production of ethanol, electricity,
and food. Moreover, slave laborers are increasingly being rescued from
sugar-alcohol plantations, cattle ranches, and other sectors in states where
agricultural borders are expanding into the Amazon forest and other new areas
such as the Cerrado, the Atlantic Forest, and Pantanal. Domestic child
servitude, particularly involving teenage girls, also was a problem in the
country. To a lesser extent, Brazil is a destination for the trafficking of
men, women, and children from Bolivia and Paraguay for forced labor in
garment factories and textile sweatshops in metropolitan centers such as Sao Paulo.
Child sex tourism remains a serious problem, particularly in resort and
coastal areas in Brazil’s northeast. Child sex tourists typically
arrive from Europe and, to a lesser extent, the United States. In a newer
trend, some arranged fishing expeditions to the Amazon were organized for the
purpose of child sex tourism for European and American exploiters.
Recommendations for Brazil: Increase efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses, and convict and sentence trafficking offenders, including public officials alleged to facilitate trafficking activity; continue to improve coordination on criminal slave labor cases between labor officials and federal prosecutors to hold exploiters accountable; continue to improve victim assistance and protection, especially for victims of slave labor who are vulnerable to being re-trafficked; consider increasing penalties for fraudulent recruiting crimes to more effectively target and punish unscrupulous recruiters of forced labor; and improve data collection.
Comprehensive nationwide data on anti-trafficking investigations, prosecutions, convictions, and sentences are difficult to obtain. However, partial-year statistics for 2008 reported by the Federal Police indicate authorities opened 55 international sex trafficking investigations, filed 21 indictments and arrested 50 suspects. An additional two investigations and indictments were filed for internal sex trafficking crimes. Transnational cases investigated last year include trafficking of Brazilian women to Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Switzerland, in addition to trafficking of Paraguayan women to Brazil. Since March 2008, 22 defendants were convicted on sex trafficking charges, with sentences ranging from 14 months’ to more than 13 years’ imprisonment. Such results represent an increase when compared to seven sex trafficking convictions and two sentences achieved in 2007.
The government improved efforts to prosecute forced labor crimes last year, opening 64 federal investigations under Article 149. In March 2009, a federal judge in Pará state convicted and sentenced 22 defendants on slave labor charges, imposing sentences ranging from three to 10 years’ imprisonment, in addition to fines. The court dismissed charges against 19 defendants, acquitted six defendants, and convicted an additional six defendants of lesser crimes. In a separate case in May 2008, a federal court in Maranhao sentenced a defendant to 11 years’ imprisonment for reducing victims to slavery-like conditions; the defendant also was ordered to pay substantial amounts in owed wages to workers. These cases appear to be the first applications of a 2006 Supreme Court ruling, which required that all slave-labor complaints be heard in federal courts only, instead of in both federal and state courts as was the case previously. The Ministry of Labor’s anti-slave labor mobile units increased the number of rescue operations conducted last year; the unit’s labor inspectors continued to free victims, and require those responsible to pay fines and restitution to victims. In the past, mobile unit inspectors did not typically seize physical evidence or attempt to interview witnesses with the goal of developing a criminal investigation or prosecution; labor inspectors and labor prosecutors only have civil jurisdiction, and their anti-trafficking efforts were not coordinated with public ministry prosecutors, who initiate criminal cases in federal court. Federal interagency coordination and information exchange on anti-trafficking cases remained weak last year; achieving effective coordination among differing federal, state, and municipal authorities was considered more challenging.
The Ministry of Labor’s “dirty list,” which publicly identifies individuals and corporate entities the government has determined to have been responsible for slave labor, continued to provide civil punishment to those engaged in this serious crime, with the amount of monetary fines increasing along with violators being denied access to publicly funded credit sources. During the year, however, a number of individuals and corporate entities were able to avoid opprobrium by suing to remove their names from the “dirty list” or reincorporating under a different name. Although the government opened no formal investigations or prosecutions of trafficking-related complicity during the past year, credible NGO reporting indicated serious official involvement with such activity at the local level, alleging that police turned a blind eye to child prostitution and potential human trafficking activity in commercial sex sites. Past allegations have involved elected officials, as was the case with two aldermen from Pará alleged to be involved with a child prostitution network. Other reporting indicates that state police officials were involved in the killing or intimidation of witnesses involved in testifying against police officials in labor exploitation or forced labor hearings. Killings and intimidation of rural labor activists and labor union organizers continued, some of whom were active in fighting forced labor practices; some of these killings reportedly occurred with the participation or knowledge of state law enforcement officials. In one incident in February 2008, farmers in Mato Grosso, supported by local military police, fired shots on an anti-slave labor mobile inspection team. A few Brazilian legislators have sought to interfere with the operation of the labor inspection teams in the past.
government encouraged sex trafficking victims to participate in
investigations and prosecutions of trafficking, though victims often were reluctant
to testify due to fear of reprisals from traffickers and corrupt law
enforcement officials. The government did not generally encourage victims of
forced labor to participate in criminal investigations or prosecutions. Some
victims of sex trafficking were offered short-term protection under a witness
protection program, which was generally regarded as lacking resources. The
government did not detain, fine, or otherwise penalize identified victims of
trafficking for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being
trafficked. However, the government does not provide foreign trafficking
victims with legal alternatives to removal to countries where they may face
hardship or retribution. Law enforcement personnel noted that undocumented
foreign victims were often deported before they could assist with
prosecutions against their traffickers.