Yesterday, news broke that Spain dismantled an all male sex trafficking ring. The traffickers lured scores of Brazilian men to Europe with promises of work—but enslaved them instead. Most of the victims were kept on the vacation island of Majorca. The men were forced to work under threat of violence and death. Plied with stimulants like cocaine and viagra, they were made to work 24 hours a day. Their earnings were given to their traffickers and landlords, whose apartments they were held prisoner in (read the New York Times report here.)
The Brazilian government, seemingly in response to this news, announced today that all victims of human trafficking gangs are welcome home. The Brazilian Foreign Ministry also said they are producing a guide to help survivors safely return to Brazil.
From the Associated Press;
“‘Those who want to come back must know that they have opportunities in Brazil,’ said Luiza Lopes Ribeiro da Silva, the [foreign] ministry’s head of consular assistance. ‘They need to know that they can return and that we will support them.’
The guide, to be released in three weeks, will be available in all Brazilian consulates abroad, and will help instruct consular workers who usually are the first to be contacted by those wanting to return, the ministry said.
The guide will also provide information on a witness protection service for those wanting to give police information about the human-trafficking gang that gave them jobs as prostitutes.”
Brazil has been praised for its proactive approach to combatting modern day slavery. (The UN Special Rapporteur on slavery, Gulnara Shahinian described Brazil’s policies against forced labor as “exemplary.”) Their Mobile Inspection group works with federal police to free thousands of enslaved people every year. The government also works to make the business of slavery unprofitable: they compile a “dirty list” of companies found to have slave labor in their supply chain. Any person or organization put on the list is excluded from receiving government permits, grants loans or credits—and are subject to prosecution and imprisonment.
>> Find out more about Free the Slaves partners in Brazil: Reporter Brasil and Comissão Pastoral da Terra