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When law enforcement officials from the Brazilian Border Police Battalion (BPFRON) found and rescued 15-year-old Luna during an operation in Santa Helena, in the interior of Paraná, Brazil, they discovered that she was one of countless young girls who had been lured into a life of abuse and forced slavery.  

This was the first human trafficking case the agency closed after technical training at The Exodus Road’s TraffickWatch Academy, a masterclass training program for law enforcement agencies in Brazil, with a module from Cellebrite. 

“In the 2022 Carnival, after receiving information that Paraguayan minors were being prostituted in brothels in Santa Helena, we triggered our first operation to combat human trafficking,” shares BPFRON 1st Police Lieutenant André L. Jaworski Fantin. 

Although the agency identified a suspect, they were unable to connect him to organized crime in the city – that is, until they used Cellebrite’s advanced digital investigative solutions to uncover an international network of criminals, with their suspect at the center of it all. 

“Thanks to the use of Cellebrite, we were able to identify a weapons, drugs and people trafficking scheme,” says Lt. André. Most importantly, they were able to reunite a child with her family.  

For Lt. André, being able to accelerate justice for and prevent further harm to these victims is the most rewarding part of being a police officer. The cherry on top of it all is being able to ensure that criminals don’t escape punishment.   

“Police officers can save, protect and help people in a way that few people can,” Lt. André says.” Far beyond enabling fair punishment for criminals, which is also rewarding, is rescuing a victim of abuse and …bringing “a little peace to their families by taking the (criminals) to justice.” 

 

Access to Digital Investigative Solutions 

For some states in Brazil, such as Pernambuco, the only equipment available to investigate these crimes are donations through Cellebrite’s partnership with The Exodus Road. Insufficient tech can affect law enforcement’s ability to resolve cases. In fact, access to advanced forensics tools and training are essential in uncovering sexual exploitation and human trafficking schemes that take place across the country.  

In Amazonas, for example, the Civil Police uncovered a sexual exploitation scheme after receiving a video from a teenage girl’s phone. After legally seizing video tapes, hard drives, pen drives and a computer as part of their investigation, they discovered that the perpetrator was involved in at least four types of sexual exploitation including prostitution, sexual assault and sexual tourism.. 

Besides the anti-trafficking training, which TraffickWatch Academy conducted in nine states across the country, Brazillian law enforcement agencies also received the latest forensics tech from Cellebrite. In 2023 alone, they rescued 170 survivors and arrested 10 perpetrators as a direct result of the training and the digital investigative solutions provided.  

 

The Importance of Digital Investigative Solutions 

Due to the transnational nature of human trafficking and organized crime, it is essential that law enforcement agencies gain access to advanced digital investigative solutions for secure and streamlined investigations and cross-agency collaboration.  

These cases underscore the critical importance of Operation Find Them All, a groundbreaking public commitment campaign between Cellebrite and its partners, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), The Exodus Road and Raven, to accelerate investigations of online crimes against children.