Brazilian Senate approves law with harsher punishments for the crime of human trafficking

Brasilia, 16 September, 2016 - The Senate approved on Tuesday (13) a bill that provides for more severe punishments for those who commit the crime of trafficking in persons. The proposal provides for the prevention and suppression of crimes and attention to internal and international trafficking victims. The bill now goes to the sanction of President Michel Temer.

Before being approved in the Senate, the bill has been passed by the Chambers. But, according to information on the G1 news website, Senators downed the changes of the deputies and voted the original text. The proposal is a novelty when it comes to deal with this type of crime - until now there was no comprehensive law on trafficking in persons; only on trafficking in women and children.

According to the text, which seeks to adapt Brazilian legislation to international treaties on the subject, the crime of trafficking in persons is framed as practices of procuring, recruiting, transporting, buying or house people through threats, coercion, violence, fraud and abuse, with the purpose of:

  • remove organs, tissues or body parts of persons;
  • Submit persons to work in conditions similar to slavery or servitude of any kind;
  • Illegal adoption;
  • Sexual exploitation.

The penalty provided for in the new bill is four to eight years in prison, plus the payment of a fine. The measure could be exacerbated if the crime is committed by a public official or against children, adolescents and elderly. There is also an increased punishment if the victim is removed from the country.

In addition to the penalty, the proposal also provides for measures to prevent new cases of trafficking in persons, such as the creation of interdisciplinary public policies involving health professionals, education, labour, public security, justice, rural development, among other areas. Other ways to prevent the crimes defined in the project are socio-educational campaigns and the encouragement of social projects to prevent trafficking in persons.

The project also establishes cooperation between agencies of the justice systems and national and international security, and the creation of a database of offenders and victims of trafficking.

Finally, the text lays down a series of measures to assist victims, both legal, social and health wise, as well as reception and temporary shelter for people who suffer this type of violence.

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