The government maintained protection efforts. In 2021, the government reported identifying 441 trafficking victims, compared with identifying and providing protection services to 357 potential trafficking victims in 2020. Among these victims, there were 221 men, 139 women, 51 boys, and 30 girls; the government did not specify how many were victims of sex trafficking, as opposed to labor trafficking. The government also reported identifying 1,937 victims of labor exploitation during 443 slave labor inspections; however, the government did not specify how many, if any, of these were trafficking victims, as opposed to victims of other forms of exploitation. As in previous years, the government did not report the total number of cases of forced labor as defined under international law. By comparison, authorities inspected 266 companies and identified 943 victims of labor exploitation in 2020; in a 2021 analysis, officials assessed as probable trafficking victims 223 of 936 victims of labor exploitation identified in 2020. Several government agencies at various levels collected data on victim identification and assistance; however, only the Ministry of Citizenship and Ministry of Labor reported victim identification data in 2021. Brazil’s lack of a centralized database and inconsistent reporting made it difficult to analyze data, perform year-to-year comparisons, and draw conclusions. Civil society observers noted the demographic profiles of trafficking victims varied considerably across available sources, based on the variables each entity tracked, as well as the population to which it catered; the Ministry of Health’s records, for example, frequently included more female victims than did law enforcement sources. In previous reporting periods, the government’s reported victim identification efforts varied from state to state; select rural states, such as Parana, often identified an outsized share of the victims identified in a given year, while more populous states identified relatively few. Observers suggested the government devoted insufficient resources to identifying victims of slave labor in female-dominated areas of work, including domestic labor. Federal labor inspectors reportedly shared with victims of slave labor information on basic resources available to them. The government did not report how many slave labor victims received such information in 2021 or 2020. Many, but not all, victims of slave labor had access to three months of unemployment insurance; the government reported that 1,687 slave labor victims received unemployment insurance in 2021, compared with 713 of the 942 victims identified in 2020. The government did not report what other services, if any, slave labor victims received.
The government had an updated protocol for victim assistance and referral, developed in consultation with an international NGO in 2020. However, observers reported implementation of the 2020 protocol was incomplete and some officials at the federal, state, and local level continued to rely on victim identification guidance from 2013, which predated the 2016 anti-trafficking law. However, the government did not report training any officials to use either resource during the reporting period; there was no indication that authorities in most states proactively or consistently identified victims of sex trafficking, child sex tourism, or forced labor, especially forced criminality. Labor inspectors identified victims of slave labor while conducting impromptu inspections into businesses or employers suspected of using slave labor. According to some government officials, judges demonstrated an incomplete understanding of the irrelevance of initial consent; they inconsistently identified trafficking victims as such when the victim initially consented to perform a certain job or service in which they were later coerced or forced to provide labor or services against their will. The MOJPS maintained eight “advanced posts” at locations, such as airports and bus stations, where authorities could screen for trafficking indicators; it operated the same number of posts in 2020 and nine in 2019.
Law 13.344 mandated the government provide victims with temporary shelter; legal, social, and health assistance; and protection against re- victimization. Implementation of the law was inconsistent across states. Authorities continued to operate 16 state-level and one municipal-level anti-trafficking offices (NETPs). NETPs operated interagency networks that could serve as the first point of contact for victims who had been identified by any means, including NGOs; however, most NETPs did not provide services to victims directly and were only open during the day. Most agencies with equities participated in the network, and NETPs could refer victims of adult sex trafficking to Specialized Social Service Centers (CREAS) serving vulnerable populations, victims of forced labor to the Secretariat of Labor Inspections (SIT), and child victims of trafficking to guardianship councils. The government did not report the number of victims NETPs assisted in 2021, compared with assisting 156 potential victims in 2020. Adult victims referred to CREAS could receive assistance from non-specialized psychologists and social workers; the government reported its network of CREAS assisted 441 victims in 2021, compared with assisting 357 potential victims in 2020. A government official indicated that the NETPs were not distributed in a balanced way across the country. Wealthier states, such as Sao Paulo, supplemented their NETPs’ budgets, allowing for more effective assistance and coordination teams comprised of police officers, prosecutors, labor inspectors, labor prosecutors, and mental health professionals. Federal funding, however, was limited and insufficient to adequately fund or equip NETPs in the absence of supplemental state-level funding. Many states did not have NETPs, including border states where trafficking was prevalent. Civil society reported some regional governments diverted NETPS resources to support pandemic mitigation efforts. The government did not report whether it maintained its partnership with an LGBTQI+ organization to increase the protection of transgender trafficking victims.
Some NETPs and CREAS could provide limited short-term shelter; the federal government did not fund specialized or long-term shelters for trafficking victims. The government had a national network of non- specialized government and civil society shelters serving vulnerable populations, such as individuals experiencing homelessness, victims of domestic violence, and the elderly. Of these shelters, the government reported more than 3,700 could receive trafficking victims, although far fewer served trafficking victims in practice. In 2019, the most recent year for which data was available, 32 of these shelters reported providing services to at least one trafficking victim each. The government did not report how many trafficking victims these shelters assisted during the reporting period. There were no specialized shelters for male victims of trafficking. States did not have specialized shelters for child sex trafficking victims, and guardianship councils often lacked the expertise and resources to adequately identify, refer, and support child victims. Some states placed victims in shelters for migrants, individuals experiencing homelessness, or victims of domestic violence. The state of Sao Paulo, for example, had two main shelters where trafficking victims could receive assistance—one was a state government-funded shelter where female victims and their children could receive health benefits, education, food, and housing for three to six months; the other was an NGO-operated shelter that provided temporary assistance for refugees and trafficking victims. When space in these shelters was unavailable, Sao Paulo officials housed trafficking victims in other non-specialized shelters and, occasionally, hotels. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second most populous city, did not have any specialized shelters for victims of sex trafficking. Officials from the MPT used assets forfeited from traffickers to provide care to victims of slave labor. To increase and expedite access to care for forced labor victims, state governments could participate in the Integrated Action Program through MPT, which coordinated vocational training, sought restitution from traffickers, and arranged job placements. Authorities did not report providing training to any guardianship council social workers on the worst forms of child labor, including trafficking, in 2021 or 2020, compared with training 242 social workers in 2019.
Authorities sometimes penalized victims for unlawful acts traffickers compelled them to commit. Due to inadequate application of formal identification and screening procedures, officials occasionally arrested foreign women for alleged drug trafficking crimes committed under coercion and as a result of their trafficking situation. The government had measures to encourage victims to testify in cases against traffickers, including allowing remote live video testimony. However, authorities have never reported using these measures in trafficking cases. Observers continued to express concern about the under-reporting of trafficking crimes, attributing it in part to victims’ lack of awareness of protection services and fear that filing complaints would lead to further exploitation, deportation, or other harm. The law entitled foreign victims of trafficking and other rights violations to a residence permit. The government did not report issuing any residence permits under this provision in 2021, whether to trafficking victims or victims of other crimes, compared with 12 in 2020. The government could assist victims of trafficking with repatriation, but authorities have not reported assisting any victims since 2017.