UNODC and Ministry of Justice gather data about trafficking in persons in Brazil and launch new research methodology
10 April 2013 - Slavery corresponds to two thirds of the inquiries related to trafficking in persons established by Brazil's Federal Police between 2005 and 2011, according to a study developed by the National Justice Secretariat of the Ministry of Justice (SNJ/MJ), in partnership with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Of the 514 police inquiries established by the Federal Police in this period, 344 were about slavery, 157 about international trafficking in persons and 13 about national trafficking.
Moreover, the Federal Police has indicted 381 suspects of international trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation between 2005 and 2011, of which only 158 have been arrested. The study identified that this low rate of punishment is a result of the difficulty in gathering criminal evidence and of gaps in the legislation, which foresees only the trafficking of people for sexual exploitation disregards other forms of trafficking in persons, such as for the removal of organs, tissues and other body parts, and for slavery.
Rodrigo Vitória, Coordinator of UNODC's Governance and Justice Unit in Brazil, explained that this is a preliminary study that shows that there is not a monitoring of data about trafficking in persons in the country. "Despite not showing trafficking in persons trends in Brazil, this data confirms that the phenomenon exists here and also that Brazil needs to improve its data gathering methodology in relation to this kind of crime".
Developed between May and September 2012, the study gathered statistics about trafficking in persons in Brazil from institutions of the Ministry of Justice, such as the Federal Police Department, Federal Highway Police Department, National Penitentiary Department, Union's Public Defender and National Secretariat of Public Safety, as well as organizations that deal directly with victims of trafficking in persons, such as the Consular Assistance of the Ministry of External Relations. The National Justice Council and the National Council of the Public Ministry were also heard.
The main conclusion of the study is that the organizations that deal with this crime have a difficulty in registering information about it. "There is not a culture of registering the phenomenon, the systems are used to register the work of the institutions, but not to register the number of people, the number of cases", warned the director of the Justice Department of SNJ/MJ, Fernanda dos Anjos. "The numbers of this diagnosis do not reveal trends about trafficking in persons in Brazil. In other words, even though the number of cases registered varies each year, these numbers show only what has reached the organizations that combat this crime and give assistance to victims. We still have a scenario where there are of a lot of hidden cases".
Because of this, the Ministry of Justice has developed with UNODC - after consulting several other bodies of the criminal justice system, of the Public Ministry and the Judiciary system - a new proposal for an integrated methodology for collecting and analyzing data trafficking in persons, which should be implemented in the country over the next few years. "Our hope is that, in a few years, it will be possible to effectively extract statistics that reveal trends, helping the Brazilian government to direct better its policies for trafficking in persons", said Vitória.
The study produced by the National Justice Secretariat in partnership with UNODC was presented at the launch of the Federal Government's II Plan for Facing Trafficking in Persons, in late February.
II National Confrontation Plan against Human Trafficking (in Portuguese)