the publication Trafficking in Persons Report/2006,
from the U.S. Department of State, Brazil was classified
as “Special Level 2/in observation:” a country whose
government has not completely fulfilled what the Trafficking
Victims Protection Act/TVPA of 2000
foresaw, although it is making significant efforts to
reach that goal.
Brazil is described as a
country where women and girls are trafficked for sexual
exploitation, both within its borders and across South
America, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Japan, the United
States, and the Middle East.
This document also states that approximately 70,000
Brazilians, the majority women, are sex workers in foreign
countries, many of them victims of human trafficking.
Brazil’s main problem, however, is the small number of
convictions of human traffickers.
what exactly is “human trafficking?” Who are the
is a relatively new category in the legal, political, and
social scene. It originated at the United Nations
Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (2000),
more specifically in its additional protocol relating to
Prevention, Repression, and Punishment of Human
Trafficking, especially Women and Children, ratified by
Brazil in 2004.
the Protocol, human
trafficking is defined as the recruitment, transport,
transfer, and housing or shelter of people, using the
threat or use of force or other forms of coercion,
abduction, fraud, deceit, abuse of authority or the
situation of vulnerability; the delivery or acceptance of
payment or benefits to obtain a person’s consent who has
authority over another for the purpose of exploitation.
The consent given by the victim is considered irrelevant.
can include, at the minimum, the exploitation of
prostitution of others or other forms of sexual
exploitation, work or forced services, slavery, or
practices similar to slavery, servitude, or the removal of
this article, we will limit our analysis of trafficking to
prostitution/sexual exploitation, more specifically on the
international level. This is treated as a premeditated
crime in the Penal Code (articles 231
and in the Statute of Children and Adolescents (article
topic gained more visibility in Brazil after the
publication in 2002 of the Study on the Trafficking of
Women, Children, and Adolescents for the Purpose of Sexual
Exploitation (Pestraf), which identified the existence of
241 trafficking routes of women, children, and adolescents
by land, air, sea, and hydroplane.
Pestraf served as the starting point for the work carried
out in 2003 and 2004 by the Mixed Parliamentary Commission
of Inquiry. The Commission was created for the purpose of
investigating situations of violence and networks of the
sexual exploitation of children and adolescents in Brazil,
and its final report highlighted trafficking.
to this, since December 2001, the federal government (National
Secretary of Justice/SNJ) and the United Nations Office
against Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) had been developing a
technical cooperative agreement to combat human
trafficking, especially of women, for the purpose of
sexual exploitation. The project, currently in a phase of
renegotiation, functioned until August 2005 in four
Brazilian states: Goiás and Ceará (because they are
considered locations of origin for a large portion of the
victims of this crime) and Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo (because
they have the main international airports in the country).
There were three workshops carried out to address human
skill-building courses with people working in law and
other public servants in the network that serves the
a national campaign of public awareness, with posters in
the airports and distribution of pamphlets along with
passports issued by the Federal Police.
2005 and 2006, the Mixed Parliamentary Commission of
Inquiry investigated situations of trafficking for
prostitution/sexual exploitation, dedicating a chapter and
various recommendations to the subject, in order to
identify crimes and other penal and civic offenses
committed with illegal emigration of Brazilians to the
United States and other countries. These recommendations
are better known as CPMI of Illegal Emigration.
the same time, the press reported a series of operations
by the Federal Police that were carried out to stop groups
who were trafficking people, mostly women and
transgendered people, who were being exploited in Europe:
Operation Tarantela (2006); Operation Tarô (2006) and Operation Caraxuê
(2006). According to the Federal Police Department, while
the first investigations of international trafficking of
women for sexual exploitation occurred in the early 1990s,
the number of investigations grew significantly starting
in 1999. In all, from 1990 to 2006, there were 480 cases
In 2006, the federal government created the National
Policy to Combat Human Trafficking, a proposal elaborated
by representatives of the Federal Executive Power, the
Federal Public Ministry, and the Public Ministry of
Employment, available for public consultation. In June
2006, a national seminar, “The National Policy to Combat
Human Trafficking,” occurred with broad civil society
and had the objective of discussing the proposed
suggestions. The event was also supported by Partners of
the Americas/USAID, the International Labor Organization
(OIT), and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).
a result of this seminar, on October 26, 2006, the Decree
#5,948 was published, signed by president Luiz Inácio
Lula da Silva, and by the Minister of Justice, Márcio
Thomaz Bastos, who approved the final text of the National
Policy to Combat Human Trafficking and instituted the
Interministerial Work Group
in order to develop a proposal of the National Plan to
Combat Human Trafficking—PNETP. According to the
aforementioned decree, the National Policy to Combat Human
Trafficking aims to establish principles, lines of
direction, and actions for the prevention and repression
of human trafficking, in addition to support for victims
in accordance with national and international standards
and instruments of human rights and national legislation.
is noteworthy that, during all these years of debate about
this subject, the trafficking victims continue to be
discussed more than heard.
The media, above all, defines them as women who
look for various jobs in Europe who are tricked by groups
that prostitute them, or prostitutes that seek a position
in the European market and are exploited by groups that
keep their passports and charge impossible fees for their
trip expenses. There are very few references to the situations of these
women and adolescents who are sexually exploited in
frontier regions. Their
situations are of great vulnerability, perhaps due to the
fact that their displacement is how internal trafficking
the Davida Research Group, an association of social scientists who study
prostitution from the sex workers’ point of view, a
large number of the adult women who are prostituting
themselves in Europe are not victims of trafficking, and
to treat them this way characterizes a violation of their
right to work in the sex market.
Oliveira Silva, coordinator of the study “Trafficking of
human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation in Rio
Grande do Sul” (SNJ-MJ/UNODC, June 2005), to speak of
human trafficking is to speak of sexuality, of prejudice,
and of the internationalization of the prostitution market:
dealing with this theme implies, therefore, the comparison of the
different sexuality projects, the relationship of
trafficking to violence and with the process of market
redefinition from the point of view of its
internationalization, and of the ways to socially produce
goods and consumption (p. 6).
fact, the universe of human trafficking and prostitution
is complex, heterogeneous, and overlaps with racism,
xenophobia, prejudice, poverty, and international
migration. It is quite worrisome to us, for example, to
find out that women and transgender people were simply
held and deported like illegal immigrants in the
operations that the Federal Police carried out with
European police to repress human trafficking, even though
it is known that they should be treated as victims of
trafficking and should receive some type of special
the human rights of these women and transgender people
being respected, whether or not they are victims of human
Under what conditions are they being identified, held, and
deported? How are they treated by the police and
immigration employees? How are they treated on the flight
back to Brazil? How are they received in Brazil? Is there
an official reception protocol in place? How many return
who are actually relieved to have their freedom? How many
of them want to return to Europe and try again? How do
they do that?
help answer these questions, it is essential to read the
report titled Indications
of human trafficking in the universe of deported women,
and women who are turned away, who return to Brazil via
the Guarulhos airport
(SNJ-MJ/UNODC, August 2005), coordinated by the
anthropologist Adriana Piscitelli, from the Gender Studies
report presents samples that help construct the universe
of women who are not admitted or are deported and that
show related aspects to the insertion of some of these
people in the sex market abroad, some of which indicate
trafficking (p.19). Socio-economic profiles, motivations,
and networks of the informants’ relationships were
surveyed. The study also calls attention to the treatment
given to Brazilian women in many different countries based
on preconceived notions that, according to the interviews,
extend themselves from foreign police employees to airline
stories point out the importance of social networks,
especially female and familial networks, in organizing the
introduction and insertion into the sex industry abroad.
These networks also guarantee childcare of the children
who stay in Brazil. Without
denying the existence of criminal groups, the Guarulhos
researchers identified that the connections that these
networks make is quite similar to those present in
Brazilian international migration in general.
of the main arguments used to prevent Brazilian women from
entering the European continent is the lack of sufficient
funds for a tourist trip. However, the Guarulhos team
noticed that those who were not admitted tended to be
situated in a lower socioeconomic level in relation to
those who were deported.
they observed that in the majority of cases, the arguments
used to deny entrance to the country were based solely on
mistrust. It is
not a coincidence that innumerous depositions refer to the
discrimination of Brazilian women by customs officials, a
discrimination based on an image of Brazil and of
Brazilian women stigmatized by the idea of prostitution.
When examining the cases of deported women
who admit to being a part of the sex market in Europe, the
majority was deported because they were in a situation of
irregular migration, and not because they were prostitutes.
According to the Guarulhos researchers’ observations,
the majority was perceived to have a higher educational
level, a higher economic level, and was more attentive to
A Brazilian federal police officer who works in
Guarulhos commented to one of the researchers that “the
pretty women didn’t come back,” a clear reference to
the importance of appearance as a criterion in the
suggest that the
Interministerial Work Group, which is developing the
National Plan to Combat Human Trafficking should
keep the existing lines of communication open with
organized civil society and with international agencies
that address this subject, such as the United Nations
Office against Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the International
Labor Organization (OIT), the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM),
the International Migration Organization (OIM),
and the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF).
In the specific case of the OIT, it is fundamental to
partner with the Project to Combat Human Trafficking.
also suggest that the Interministerial Work Group take the
accumulation of resources that are already available into
consideration, from reports produced as a part of the
aforementioned SNJ-MJ/ UNODC agreements, to the
recommendations of the Mixed Parliamentary Commission on
Sexual Exploitation (2004) and Illegal Emigration (2006).
In the specific case of sexual exploitation on the
Brazilian border, it is necessary to consult the reports
and recommendations of the International Labor
Organization (OIT), as a part of the Program to Prevent
and Eliminate Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children
and Adolescents in the tri-border region (Argentina,
Brazil and Paraguay), and of the Subregional Plan for the
Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor in the MERCOSUL
involves many possibilities for errors, especially when
referring to prostitution and sexual exploitation. What we
know today about the subject is merely the tip of the
iceberg. In this article, we seek to make the discussion
more complex and demonstrate how important it is to listen
to those who are involved, especially when we are
developing public policies for their protection.
The poet Nei Duclós, in a poem titled “Lesson of
Passage,” affirms that the
world does not have a correct side and that all of the edges can be stepped on.
We hope this serves as inspiration to all who work in the
defense of human rights of people who are discriminated
against because of their migratory situation or because of
their insertion into the sex market, as victims or
Final da Comissão Parlamentar Mista de Inquérito criada
por meio do Requerimento nº 2, de 2005–CN, “para
apurar os crimes e outros delitos penais e civis
praticados com a emigraçãoilegal de brasileiros para os
Estados Unidos e outros países, e assegurar os direitos
de cidadania aos brasileiros que vivem no exterior”. Brasília,
Final da Comissão Parlamentar Mista de Inquérito criada
por meio do Requerimento nº 02, de 2003-CN, “com a
finalidade investigar as situações de violência e redes
de exploração sexual de crianças e adolescentes no
Brasília, julho de 2004.
Instituto Estadual do Livro do Rio Grande do Sul, 1975.
DE PESQUISA DAVIDA
"traficadas" e pânicos morais: uma análise da
produção de fatos em pesquisas sobre o "tráfico de
Cadernos Pagu, no. 25, Campinas, julho/dezembro de 2005.
Moacir e ALMEIDA, Alfredo Wagner Berno de
invenção da migração.
Projeto emprego e mudança sócio-econômica no Nordeste.
Convênio UFRJ/FINEP/IPEA/IBGE. Vol. 1. Rio de Janeiro,
Museu Nacional, 1977.
NACIONAL DE JUSTIÇA - MINISTÉRIO DA JUSTIÇA
Final do Seminário Nacional
“A Política Nacional de Enfrentamento ao Tráfico de
NACIONAL DE JUSTIÇA - MINISTÉRIO DA JUSTIÇA/
ESCRITÓRIO DAS NAÇÕES UNIDAS CONTRA DROGAS E CRIME (UNODC)
de tráfico de pessoas no universo de deportadas e não
admitidas que regressam ao Brasil via o aeroporto de
Paulo, agosto de 2005.
NACIONAL DE JUSTIÇA -MINISTÉRIO DA JUSTIÇA/ ESCRITÓRIO
DAS NAÇÕES UNIDAS CONTRA DROGAS E CRIMES (UNODC)/
SECRETARIA DE JUSTIÇA E SEGURANÇA DO ESTADO DO RIO
GRANDE DO SUL
Tráfico de Seres Humanos para fins de Exploração Sexual
no Rio Grande do Sul
Porto Alegre, junho de 2005.
Do not confuse with “migrant trafficking,” defined
in the Additional Protocol regarding the Combat of
Migrant Trafficking by Land, Sea, and Air as “the
promotion, with the objective of obtaining, directly
or indirectly, a financial or other material benefit,
by the illegal entrance of a person from another
nation state, of which this person is not a citizen or
231 – International human trafficking—To promote, intermediate,
or facilitate the entry of a person who comes to
practice prostitution in national territory, or the
departure of a person to practice prostitution abroad.
231-A—Internal human trafficking—To promote,
intermediate or facilitate the recruitment, transport,
transfer, housing or shelter of a person who comes to
Of these, 131 are international routes, principally
directed to: Spain (32 routes); Holland (11 routes);
Venezuela (10 routes); Italy (9); Portugal (8);
Paraguay (7); Switzerland (6); United States (5);
Germany (5); and Suriname (5).
of the cases, inquiries and judicial processes
registered in Federal Justice Courts and the Federal
Police Superintendents of the four States of the pilot
project, between December of 2000 and January of 2003;
study carried out in Guarulhos International Airport
in 2005, with the purpose of detecting the presence of
Brazilian women and transgendered people who were
objects of human trafficking for sexual exploitation,
who return to Brazil because they were deported or not
allowed to enter; and a study realized in Rio Grande
do Sul with the intention of developing a map of
international trafficking routes of people in the
State, starting with the findings of the Study on
Trafficking of Women, Children, and Adolescents for
Sexual Exploitation in Brazil (Pestraf), from 2002.
This is available at: http://www.mj.gov.br/trafico/default.asp
(Last accessed October, 2006).
The following organizations were among those who
participated in the event or sent contributions to the
Assessoria da Mulher – Goiânia, CECRIA,
de Proteção Cora Coralina Asses. da Mulher, CFEMEA,
Confederação das Mulheres do Brasil, DAVIDA,
Brasileira de Lésbicas, Partners
of America, Projeto Trama, Serviço
da Mulher Marginalizada, SODIREITOS, União
Brasileira de Mulheres, and Violes.
The Work Group will be integrated with the President’s
Special Secretary of Human Rights; the President’s
Special Secretary for Women’s Policies; the
of Policies for the Promotion of Racial Equality; the
President’s Civic House; the Ministry of Justice;
the Ministry of Social Development and the Fight
against Hunger; the Ministry of Health, the Ministry
of Employment; the Ministry of Agrarian Development;
the Ministry of Education; the Ministry of External
Relations; the Ministry of Tourism; the Ministry of
Culture; and the National Law of the Union.
The report is defined as “exploratory research,”
the field research of which was realized between March
and April, 2005, the subjects of which were Brazilian
women who were deported from or not admitted to Europe,
who arrive at the Guarulhos airport in Brazil.
According to information provided by the Federal
Police Department, in 2004, close to 22,500 deported
Brazilians who returned were registered (people who
were already in the country of destination and were
sent back to the country of origin because their
papers were not in order) or not admitted to other
countries (people whose entrance was refused at the
destination country). Of these, approximately 15,000
returned to Brazil via Guarulhos airport.
The rest arrived at airports in Belém, Belo
Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre. Of those
who arrived at Guarulhos, approximately 33% were women.
In accordance with this information, among these
deported persons, there are cases of people who did
not have the proper visa, or who were actually
trafficked and who were being sexually exploited.
Every time I see a river/It seems like on the other
loaded rafts of childhood/Disappeared from my sight/But
the bridge remained/As an eternal promise/That all
edges can be stepped on
world does not have a correct side/Therefore there is
a solid bridge/Over all waters
de Travessia”, Nei Duclós, 1975)
movement to end trafficking in persons is more than a
human rights objective; it is a matter of global
security”. In Trafficking in Persons Report/2006,
published by the U.S. Department of State.