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Brazilian police launch crackdown against trafficking in persons

Trans women are reported to have been lured into moving to Italy

Published in 09/08/2018 - 16:07

By Pedro Peduzzi Brasília

Early this morning (Aug. 9), the Brazilian Federal Police launched Operation Fairy Godmother, aimed at stopping international trafficking in persons and slave labor.

The probe, backed by the Labor Prosecution Service as well as the Federal Prosecution Service, started in 2017 after reports emerged that transsexual women were being lured on social media into moving to Italy with the promise of cosmetic surgeries and a spot in beauty contests in the European country.

 Atores fazem performance teatral durante a abertura da 5ª Semana de Enfrentamento ao Tráfico de Pessoas, na Rodoviária Interestadual de Brasília.
Actors perform during the 5th Week Against the Trafficking in Persons, in Brasília. – Marcelo Camargo / Agência Brasil

"Prettiest and promising"

The victims regarded as “prettiest and most promising” were sent to Italy, where they would run up debts to take part in contests and ended up falling victims to sexual exploitation.

Criminals orchestrated the scheme from the city of Franca, in São Paulo. The police also uncovered similar rings in the states of Goiás and Minas Gerais.

To serve five warrants for preventive arrest and eight for search and seizure issued by authorities in Franca, 52 federal agents were engaged in the aforementioned states.

In a note, the police said that those investigated will be charged with international trafficking in persons, submitting workers to slave-like conditions, criminal organization, procuring, and unlicensed medical practice.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira Edition: Maria Claudia / Nira Foster

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