Brazil Boosts Rights for Migrant Victims of Forced Labor

The Ministries of Labor and Employment (MTE) and Justice and Public Security (MJSP) in Brazil have jointly issued a new regulation to bolster the protection and rights of migrant victims of forced labor and trafficking. Published on Wednesday, Interministerial Ordinance No. 46 replaces its predecessor, Ordinance No. 87, dated March 23, 2020, enhancing legal certainty and clarity for migrants in vulnerable situations.

The primary objective of this new regulation is to provide greater protection and rights to migrants who are victims of trafficking in persons, forced labor, or violations aggravated by their migratory status. The reformulation aims to strengthen the protection of migrants facing severe violations.

The migration, under certain circumstances, can render individuals vulnerable, potentially subjecting them to exploitation through trafficking or forced labor. Often, migrants face language barriers, lack of familiarity with national legislation, and socio-economic integration challenges, making them susceptible to exploitation.

The reformulation process involved extensive consultation and collective input from relevant institutions authorized to request residency permits, with the migrant’s consent. This collaborative effort included stakeholders such as police officers, public defenders, labor inspectors, members of the judiciary, and prosecutors, integrating their expertise to enhance protection standards.

Key changes introduced by the new regulation include the relaxation of documentation requirements. Now, passports or official identification documents from any country visited by the migrant are acceptable, along with other official documents issued by competent authorities. Additionally, the effects of residency are extended to indirect victims through family reunification, subject to similar flexible documentation requirements. The regulation also prioritizes the processing of these requests and aligns with international standards by eliminating references to victim collaboration in criminal proceedings.

This new regulation represents a significant step forward in Brazil’s efforts to combat trafficking in persons and forced labor while safeguarding the rights and dignity of migrant victims. By streamlining procedures, enhancing protection measures, and prioritizing the needs of vulnerable individuals, Brazil aims to create a more inclusive and just society for all migrants.