The government increased protection efforts. The government reported identifying 588 trafficking victims in 2022, compared with 441 trafficking victims in 2021. Among these victims, there were 355 men, 179 women, 29 boys, and 25 girls; the government did not specify how many were victims of sex trafficking or labor trafficking. The government also reported identifying 2,575 victims of labor exploitation during 462 slave labor inspections, compared with 1,937 victims during 443 inspections in 2021; 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 number of victims of forced labor, as defined under international law, it identified. In a 2022 analysis, officials assessed as probable trafficking victims 1,694 of 1,959 victims of labor exploitation identified in 2021, compared with 223 of 943 labor exploitation victims identified in 2020; the same analysis described approximately 45 percent of slave labor victims identified since 2016 as probable trafficking victims. Observers suggested the government devoted insufficient resources to identifying victims of slave labor in female-dominated sectors, such as domestic work. Brazil did not have a centralized database to track victim identification and service provision, which made it difficult to analyze data, perform year-to-year comparisons, and draw conclusions. Several agencies at various levels of government collected victim data; however, each agency used its own methodology, limiting the ability to share information across institutions. Civil society reports noted the demographic profiles of trafficking victims varied considerably across available sources based on the populations to which each entity catered and the datapoints it collected; the Ministry of Health’s records, for example, frequently included more female victims than did law enforcement sources. 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 others, including more populous states, identified relatively few. Victim services providers relied on the same inspection documents as prosecutors and frequently lacked critical data to locate and refer victims to services. Officials routinely failed to follow up with identified victims and refer them to services due to incomplete victim records; in one state, officials estimated only 30 percent of slave labor victims’ profiles had adequate contact information.
The government did not have an updated SOP for identifying or assisting trafficking victims; according to observers, officials at the state and local levels could create their own SOPs but many continued to rely on victim identification guidance from 2013, which predated the 2016 anti-trafficking law. However, the government had an SOP for assisting slave labor victims, the National Flow for the Assistance of Slave Labor Victims, and SIT inspectors provided slave labor victims with pamphlets outlining available resources. Some state governments prepared their own SOPs; the state of Rio de Janeiro had an SOP which combined procedures for assisting trafficking and slave labor victims. SIT identified victims of slave labor through unannounced inspections of businesses or employers suspected of using slave labor. SIT had a mobile team (GEFM) that conducted multidisciplinary inspections of rural worksites in remote areas, accounting for one-third of slave labor inspections in 2022. The Ministry of Justice and Public Security’s (MOJPS’s) eight “advanced posts” supported recently-arrived migrants at airports and bus stations; authorities at the posts could screen for trafficking indicators. However, authorities in most states did not proactively or consistently identify victims of sex trafficking, child sex tourism, or forced labor outside the slave labor context. Law 13.344 mandated the government provide victims with temporary shelter; legal, social, and health assistance; and protection against re-victimization. Authorities did not implement the law consistently across states. The government had a resource guide for service providers on victim identification and assistance. The government did not report training any officials to use the National Flow or other victim identification resources during the reporting period.
The government did not have specialized services for trafficking victims. Instead, officials could refer trafficking victims to a range of non-specialized services, such as healthcare, literacy programs, and transportation; state and local governments furnished many available services, which varied by location. Authorities operated one municipal-level and 18 state-level anti-trafficking offices (NETPs), which served as a point of contact for victims who had been identified by any entity, including NGOs, and connected victims with service providers. NETPs could refer victims of adult sex trafficking to Specialized Social Service Centers (CREAS) serving vulnerable populations, victims of forced labor to the SIT, and child victims of trafficking to guardianship councils. Most agencies with equities participated in the NETPs’ interagency network of anti-trafficking stakeholders, but NETP facilities and resources were unevenly distributed across the country. Ten states did not have an NETP facility. Federal funding for NETPs was insufficient to adequately fund or equip facilities; 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. The government reported NETPs assisted 397 potential trafficking victims in 2022, compared with assisting 156 potential victims in 2020, the most recent year for which data was available. Adult victims referred to CREAS could receive assistance from non-specialized psychologists and social workers; the government reported its network of CREAS assisted 588 victims in 2022, compared with 441 victims in 2021. Many, but not all, slave labor victims received three months of unemployment insurance following their identification; the government reported that 1,499 of 2,575 slave labor victims (58 percent) received unemployment insurance in 2022, compared with 1,687 of 1,937 victims (87 percent) identified in 2021. Slave labor victims were also eligible for non-specialized services offered by federal, state, and local authorities; the government had more systematic means of furnishing these services to slave labor victims than to trafficking victims. Eight states participated in state-run Integrated Action Programs, opt-in programs that streamlined the provision of services, such as vocational training, job placement, and psychosocial support, to victims of slave labor.
The government did not fund specialized or long-term shelters for men, women, or children trafficking victims. Although most NETPs did not provide services to victims directly, some NETPs and CREAS could provide limited short-term shelter. Officials could also place trafficking victims in any of a network of federal-, state-, and civil society-operated shelters serving vulnerable populations, such as migrants, individuals experiencing homelessness, victims of domestic violence, and the elderly. In practice, only a few of these shelters served trafficking victims. In 2019, the most recent year for which data was available, 32 of the 3,700 federal shelters reported providing services to at least one trafficking victim each. The state of Sao Paulo had two main shelters where trafficking victims could receive assistance: a state-funded shelter where female victims and their children could receive health benefits, education, food, and housing for three to six months and 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, had specialized services for slave labor victims, funded via asset seizure, but not trafficking victims. Guardianship councils, responsible for child trafficking victims, often lacked the expertise and resources to adequately identify, refer, and support them. Authorities did not report providing training to any guardianship council social worker on the worst forms of child labor, including trafficking, in 2022, 2021, or 2020, compared with training 242 social workers in 2019.
Authorities sometimes penalized victims solely for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, including foreign women forced to transport drugs. The government had measures to encourage victims to testify 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 or violations to a residence permit. The government reported issuing eight residence permits to slave labor and/or human trafficking victims in 2022, compared with 16 residence permits in 2021 and 12 in 2020. The government could assist trafficking victims with repatriation, but authorities have not reported supporting the repatriation of any victims since 2017; civil society organizations, however, reported supporting the repatriation of one foreign victim exploited in Brazil and five Brazilians exploited abroad. Although Brazilian law allowed victims to seek restitution in criminal or civil proceedings, the government did not report any victims requesting or receiving restitution in 2022; officials indicated lengthy case timelines discouraged prosecutors and victims from pursuing restitution.