HomeNewsBriefCorruption Fuels China-Brazil Human Trafficking
BRIEF

Corruption Fuels China-Brazil Human Trafficking

BRAZIL / 5 AUG 2015 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

An investigation into the trafficking of Chinese workers to Brazil has uncovered evidence that Brazilian immigration authorities were involved, highlighting the key role that official corruption plays in enabling such trafficking networks. 

Judicial documents obtained by Estadao reportedly state that prosecutors believe corrupt immigration officials helped facilitate a human trafficking network between China and Brazil. 

The documents reportedly say that immigration officials at Rio de Janeiro's international airport charged approximately $12,000 for every person they allowed to go through immigration and pass into the hands of the traffickers. The airport officials covered their tracks by confiscating the migrants' passports, or removing the passport page with the entry stamp -- which could be used to identify the immigration offiicials on duty that day.

Once they passed through immigration, the Chinese migrants worked in debt bondage in several bakeries, supposedly to pay off the costs of bringing them into the country. 

Other similar schemes have been exposed in recent months. Prosecutors have freed a number of workers from bakeries who had been lured to Brazil with promises of a $570 monthly salary and free room and board, reported Noticias UOL. Instead, when they arrived, the workers' passports were confiscated and they were told they had to work off their debt in what prosecutors described as "slave-like conditions."

InSight Crime Analysis

Brazil has become notorious for human trafficking and forced labor, with debt bondage schemes used to entrap foreign and national workers alike. According to recent estimates, as many as 40,000 people work in slave-like conditions in sectors such as factories, mining, agriculture and logging.

SEE ALSO: Bangladesh

Authorities have uncovered evidence of various countries providing this slave labor, ranging from neighbors such as Peru to more distant countries such as Bangladesh. It should come as no surprise that Chinese human trafficking networks are also present in Brazil, as past cases have shown they already operate in neighboring countries Uruguay and Argentina.

As seen in Brazil, official corruption is a major enabler of human trafficking networks. Notably, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has identified corruption as one of the principal obstacles to effectively implementing anti-human trafficking policies.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BRAZIL / 28 DEC 2011

Rio-based blogger and journalist Julia Michaels parcels out the gems from two recent interviews of Rio State's Public Safety Secretary…

HUMAN SMUGGLING / 27 APR 2011

The body count from two areas of mass graves in Mexico had grown to 279, the government announced.

BRAZIL / 4 AUG 2017

Fifteen years after the release of one of Brazil's most famous movies, a man who played a drug trafficker…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…