South-South Cooperation

ILO takes good practices from Brazil in combating forced labour to Peru

Brazilian delegation visited Peru to accompany the first forced labour inspection operation carried out in the country and share experiences.

Noticia | 16 de noviembre de 2015
Peruvian labour inspector talks with workers during the inspection.
As part of the International Labour Organization (ILO) South-South Cooperation Programme established between Brazil and Peru, a Brazilian delegation conducted a technical visit to the Andean country in late October in order to promote the adaptation of Brazil’s experience in conducting inspections to combat forced labour. At the regional level, the visit also aimed to strengthen local government’s capacity to fight slave labour in the region of Tumbes, in north-western Peru, where there is strong evidence of forced and child labour.

The Brazilian delegation - composed of representatives from the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the Labour Public Prosecution, the Federal Prosecution, the Federal Police and the ILO Offices in Brazil and Peru–first visited the capital Lima, where they presented the Brazilian Mobile Inspection Group to the Peruvian National Commission to Combat Forced Labour.

In Tumbes, the Brazilian representatives met with local authorities in the Superior Court of Justice, the Regional Direction for Work and Promotion of Employment of the Regional Government and the Public Prosecutions Office to share experiences, before accompanying forced labour inspection operations. The delegation from Brazil also participated in an international seminar organized by the National Superintendency of Labour Inspection, which was attended by the Governor of Tumbes, judicial and executive authorities, as well as civil society.

Inspection operations

On 29 and 30 October, Tumbes Regional Intendant, Luis Moran, coordinated four inspection operations with the participation of the Brazilian delegation, which provided the Peruvian field team with practical knowledge to improve inspection focused on combating forced labour.

The first inspections were carried out on a shrimp farming area, where allegations of slave labour had been registered. The teams found degrading working conditions and some evidence of restriction of freedom, such as geographic isolation, which constitutes forced labour under Brazilian criminal law. However, as there is no law that typifies the crime in Peru, the Peruvian team considered that the case was only related to severe labour irregularities under health and safety at work rules. Despite not having rescued the workers due to a lack of legal basis, the National Superintendency of Labour Inspection – (SUNAFIL) returned to the site the next day to better assess the situation and investigate the elements highlighted by the Brazilian delegation as forced labour indicators.

In another intervention, the second team encountered a situation where workers were kept under acceptable work conditions, but with the constant presence of firearms and surveillance, as well as a prohibition to use cell phones in the workplace, which could mean restriction of freedom.

The last inspection operation was limited to prevention and education actions on health and safety at work in quarries.

This was the first time in Peru's history that a labour inspection focused on fighting slave labour was conducted.


At the end of the visit, the Brazilian delegation made a number of recommendations for the improvement of Peruvian labour inspection, including: the need to establish a national consensus on forced labour indicators; the importance of having further investigation and agreement between the team to determine the existence of forced labour; the value of recording the inspection with videos and photos; the indispensability of the presence of the police; the importance of proper coordination between the institutions that compose the inspection group, with mechanisms to protect rescued victims and ensure the guarantee of their rights, either through individual or collective actions.

Luiz Machado, Coordinator of the ILO’s Programme to Combat Forced Labour in Brazil, stated that: "It is clear that there is a need to boost the creation of a law that typifies slave labour in Peru, which would allow to address its occurrence by the criminal bias; but it is also important to create a system that allows the administrative and economic repression of those who use slave labour."

For the Peruvian Government, the technical visit represented the first time that its officers worked in a coordinated manner to combat forced labour. "Maybe in 10 years we will meet again and have the satisfaction of knowing that what we started today had a significant impact on the lives of so many Peruvian workers, and that all we did here was worth it. And I'm sure it will happen", said the National Superintendent of Peru Labour Inspection, Carlos Benites.