GLO.ACT supports the Federal Public Defender's Office in evaluating the situation of vulnerable migrants at border between Brazil and Bolivia


GLO.ACT Brazil and DPU border missionCorumbá, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil -  14 March 2018 -  Between 5 and 9 March 2018, the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants ( GLO.ACT) alongside the Federal Public Defender's Office (DPU) carried out a one-week consultative mission to Corumbá, Mato Grosso do Sul. The city of Corumbá, located on the left bank of the Paraguay River at the border between Brazil and Bolivia, is one of the main entry routes for migrants into Brazil. The aim of the mission was to hold strategic meetings with public and private entities to map the situation of migrants at the border, especially with regards to trafficking in persons (TIP) and the smuggling of migrants (SOM). Besides these meetings, visits were carried out to a local shelter as well as the male and female prisons in Corumbá. The main objective of these visits was to assess the situation of migrants within these institutions.

Initially, the scope of the mission was focused on the Bolivian nationals, which represent one of the largest immigrant populations in Brazil. Many Bolivians come through the land border between Brazil and Bolivia, mainly through Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. Some workers are recruited at the border with the promise of work in São Paulo's textile industry; however, once they arrive at the destination there have been several reports of Bolivian migrants, especially irregular migrants, working in conditions comparable to slavery.

GLO.ACT Brazil and DPU border missionDuring the consultative mission, several findings were uncovered. According to reports gathered during the meetings and visits, besides Bolivian nationals, an influx of Haitian nationals entering the country since January 2018 with fraudulent documents and with the assistance of 'coyotes' has been identified. This is indeed a new phenomenon in the region, and some of the Haitian nationals are currently being detained in both the female and male prisons. Finally, the entry of Chinese nationals, also in possession of fraudulent documents, was also noted.  

Corumbá is also an entry point for migrants that request the recognition of refugee status. According to data from the federal police, the highest numbers of requests in 2016 and 2017 were made by nationals from Haiti, Cuba, Senegal, Togo, Palestine, Libya, Ghana, Gambia, Senegal, Guinea, Bolivia and Venezuela. The total number of requests for the period was 44,173.

Based on the consultative mission's results, a plan of action is being developed by the DPU with the support of GLO.ACT to assist vulnerable migrants who enter Brazil through Corumbá, focusing on cases of TIP and SOM. The assessment report resulting from this consultative mission will also serve as an important tool when negotiating the setting up of a DPU unit in Corumbá, the aim being to provide continuous and permeant assistance to vulnerable migrants.

GLO.ACT Brazil and DPU border missionDuring the mission to Corumbá, meetings were held with representatives from the National Water Transportation Agency, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons network, the State Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons and the State Committee for Refugees, Migrants and Stateless Persons of Mato Grosso do Sul, the Federal Public Ministry in Corumbá, the federal police, the Municipal Secretariat for Social Assistance and Citizenship, the State Public Defender's Office, the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, the Brazilian Navy, the State Public Ministry, Municipality of Corumbá, the Consulate of Bolivia in Mato Grosso do Sul, the bus terminal of the city of Corumbá, the bus company Andotinha, the Pantanal Tourism Foundation, as well as the Consul of Haiti in Brazil.

GLO.ACT Brazil and DPU border missionThe 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.


For more information, please contact:

Ms. Fernanda Patricia Fuentes Munoz

National Project Officer

Liaison and Partnership Office in Brazil


Twitter:    @glo_act