Blue Heart Campaign against human trafficking marks one year in Brazil with an increase in reports

Fedotov, Cardozo and Sangalo during the launch of the campaign

Brasília, 9 May 2014 - Today, 9 May, marks the first anniversary of the launch of the Blue Heart Campaign against trafficking in persons in Brazil. A global initiative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the campaign was launched on 9 May 2013 by the Brazilian Ministry of Justice, during a ceremony in Brasília attended by the Minister of Justice, José Eduardo Cardozo, the UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, and the National Ambassador for the Campaign, singer Ivete Sangalo.

At the time, the Ministry of Justice received blue lighting and hundreds of blue balloons graced the sky of the Brazilian capital.

In 2013, Dial 100 and Dial 180, the Federal Government's emergency call services that receive human rights complaints and were widely disseminated by the Blue Heart Campaign, reported 558 cases of trafficking in persons. The total number of reports of the crime received by Dial 100 doubled from 105 in 2012 to 218 in 2013. Regarding Dial 180, the number of reports of trafficking of women increased by over 1,500% in the first half of 2013, compared to the same period in 2012 - when only 17 cases were registered.

"The effective result is demonstrated by the increasing number of reports. When people realize that the State is present, they believe more in the institutions. We are on the right track", said Paulo Abrão, Brazil's National Secretary of Justice.

Balance of activities

To celebrate the anniversary of the launch of the campaign, the Ministry of Justice, through the National Secretariat of Justice, disclosed a balance of activities about the fight against this type of crime, from which traffickers make an estimated US$ 32 billion per year, according to UNODC.

The Blue Heart Campaign was widely disseminated by the Centers for Fighting Trafficking in Persons, the Outposts of Humanized Care for Migrants and the Committees against Trafficking in Persons, as well as several ministries and partners of the National Policy throughout the country. This year, the issue was chosen as the theme for the Catholic awareness campaign "Campanha da Fraternidade", conducted by the National Conference of Bishops (CNBB).

The states of Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and Pernambuco launched Social Committees of the Blue Heart Campaign, formed by civil society members and opinion leaders, such as the writer Gloria Perez, the journalist Luis Nassif, the columnist Bia Willcox, the journalist Leilane Neubarth, the filmmaker Silvio Tendler and the jurist Baltasar Garzón. Besides Ivete Sangalo, singers like Nando Reis, Maria Gadú, Claudia Leite, Tatau, Margareth Menezes and Pablo also formally embraced the campaign against trafficking in persons.

People such as Magdalena Arraes de Alencar, the widow of the former Pernambuco state Governor, Miguel Arraes; Angela Pezutti, founder of the Women's Movement for Amnesty; Sueli Bellato, Vice-President of the Amnesty Commission of the Ministry of Justice and the Brazilian Commission for Justice and Peace, militant Derlei Catherine Luca; and lawyer and political activist Antonio Ribeiro Romanelli, President of the Truth Commission in Minas Gerais, also joined the campaign.

In the state of Bahia, a walk that attracted over 300 people was held in September to promote the campaign in the state. In April 2014, the state government formally joined the campaign with the release of the documentary "Modern Slavery".

Trafficking in persons is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or a position of vulnerability or the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person that has control over another person for the purpose of exploitation.

"Combatting this crime is a great challenge, especially considering the difficulty of gathering data and information about human trafficking, which is practically invisible, unknown by many people and often goes unnoticed, especially because of the difficulty of victims in reporting it. Thus, the Blue Heart Campaign is of fundamental importance to promote greater effectiveness in countering trafficking in persons, to ensure that this crime will be at the top of agendas and that it never goes unnoticed again", says Rafael Franzini, Representative of the UNODC Liaison and Partnership Office in Brazil.

Human trafficking occurs all over the world, with millions of victims being exploited by criminals. Yet, conviction rates of human trafficking remain low. The 2012 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons showed that, between 2007 and 2010, of the 132 countries covered, 16% did not record a single conviction and 23% recorded between one and 10 convictions for trafficking offences. By making available information on successful prosecutions and convictions from countries all over the world, UNODC aims to increase the capacity of States to investigate, prosecute and punish this shameful crime.

Related information

UNODC's Human Trafficking Case Law Database

Assessment of Trafficking in Persons in the Border Regions of Brazil (in Portuguese)

National Report on Trafficking in Persons: data consolidation from 2005 to 2011 (in Portuguese)




Press contact:

Carina Rabelo
Blue Heart Campaign Strategist
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
Tel: (61) 2025-3102 / (61) 3204-7220 / (11) 98945-7063

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