GLO.ACT supports the first conference on Consular Assistance: Trafficking in Persons, Gender Violence and Related Issues

Brasilia, 14 December 2018 - The Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (  GLO.ACT) organized alongside the Consular Assistance Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the first conference on Consular Assistance: Trafficking in Persons, Gender Violence and Related Issues, between 27 and 29 November 2018. Brazilian living aboard, estimated to be 3 million people living across 50 countries, often faces immigration difficulties, may be subject to trafficking in persons, labour exploitation, gender violence and mental health problems, among others. To improve assistance to Brazilians who are at risk abroad, the conference provided training for consular staff and psychologists working in the Brazilian consulates and embassies, on the proactive identification of victims of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) as well as the provision of assistance and mental health care.

The aims of the conference were to sharing best practices, gather of contributions for the development of a protocol of assistance to victims of TIP, strengthen the coping/assistance network for Brazilians in situation of vulnerability overseas; understand the main problems of mental health and gender violence that often affect TIP victims, as well as the assistance that may be offered and, above all, to strengthen consular ties with civil society to better serve the Brazilian community abroad. The conference included roundtables and workshops conducted by the NGO 'Theater of the Oppressed' and, vitally, the event was live streamed; ensure that all Brazilian consulates and embassies across the world could participate, thereby expanding attendance and allowing participants overseas to interact, ask questions, and provide comments.

During the opening of the conference, Political Officer of the Delegation of the European Union to Brazil, Ms. Cecile Merle, described the impact that GLO.ACT has had in fighting TIP and the Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) in Brazil, as well as the Europeans Unions commitment to continue to combat these crimes.

According to the Consular Assistance Division, TIP cases are most recurrent across in Europe, the United States, Canada, French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname, Japan, Australia, and Lebanon. In the United States, home to approximately 1.1 million Brazilians, most of the problems that reach the consular posts are related to domestic violence, especially in the cases of Brazilian women married to foreigners and labor exploitation. "Lack of language proficiency, inability to get into the job market, financial dependency, lack of a support network and cultural clashes with the spouse's family bring vulnerability to women. An additional vulnerability is if there are children, which prevents divorce and the return to Brazil, explained H.E. Ms. Maria Luiza Ribeiro Lopes da Silva, Director of the Consular Department and Brazilians Abroad. In South America, the most serious cases involving TIP for the purpose of labour exploitation and gender violence, take place in the so-called Arc of the Guianas because of mining. "We have at least 30,000 Brazilian miners there and behind them is an entire Brazilian community providing services and commerce of all kinds, including prostitution" shared the diplomat. In verified cases of exploitation at work, irregular immigration leaves many Brazilians exposed to work without labour guarantees and legal security. In Europe, with home to approximately one million Brazilians, registered cases of TIP are mainly related to case of sexual exploitation. In Japan, consular agents deal predominantly with cases of mental health, involving drug and alcohol abuse, and violence against women. In Australia and Lebanon, the most recurrent problems are cases of violence against women in marriages with foreign spouses, which can result in disorders such as anxiety and depression. 

The Ambassador went on to highlight that the first generation of immigrants usually deals with unexpected problems: "Few migrate under ideal conditions, in the employment of dreams. They face many difficulties and insecurities, undergo difficult situations; informal jobs with heavy hours, without legal security, violent husbands who blackmail the visa. Many migrate without knowing any of this."


The conference ended with a  declaration  made by the coping/assistance network for Brazilians overseas that are at risk, which included the commitment to combat TIP. A publication of articles written by consular staff and associates who participated of the event has also been planned. These will serve as inputs for the develpment of a standardized protocol of assistance for TIP victims and related issues such as gender-based violence and other forms of abuse for consular staff. Finally, the conference served as a mechanism to continue to strengthen cooperation between the consulates and civil society in their dedication to provide assistance to Brazilian nationals at risk in foreign countries.

The Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT) is a four-year (2015-2019), €11 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The project is being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). GLO.ACT aims to provide assistance to governmental authorities and civil society organizations across 13 strategically selected countries: Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine. GLO.ACT works with the 13 countries to plan and implement strategic national counter-trafficking and counter smuggling efforts through a prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships approach. It supports the development of more effective responses to trafficking and smuggling, including providing assistance to victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and direct support mechanisms.

To read the declaration made at the conference click  here

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Fernanda Patricia Fuentes Munoz

National Project Officer

Liaison and Partnership Office in Brazil


Twitter:    @glo_act 

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