Jump to content

Brazil's child sex trade soars as 2014 World Cup nears


Recommended Posts

  • Administrator
Salty Dog
A tiny figure in minuscule white shorts and a pink strapless top leans against a metal fence outside a school in Fortaleza, the capital of Ceará state, north-east Brazil.

 

She has gloss-coated lips, and her yellow headband, holding back long hair, glows in the lamplight along Juscelino Kubitschek Avenue, which connects the city to the Castelão arena, one of the venues for the 2014 World Cup. A car pulls up. The girl climbs in.

 

This is a common scene around the stadium in Fortaleza, considered Brazil's child prostitution capital and a magnet for sex tourism, according to local authorities.

 

Transvestites also work the dusty pavements of this newly renovated thoroughfare but young girls are in higher demand. "As soon as they hit the avenue they're picked up," says Antônia Lima Sousa, a state prosecutor who works on children's rights in Fortaleza. "It's really a matter of minutes. You'll find them around town during the day too."

 

Despite more than a decade of government pledges to eradicate child prostitution, the number of child sex workers in Brazil stood at about half a million in 2012, according to the National Forum for the Prevention of Child Labor, a non-governmental organisation.

 

That's a fivefold increase since 2001, when 100,000 children worked in the sex trade, according to estimates by Unicef, the UN children's charity.

 

And with the World Cup approaching in June, officials and campaigners fear an explosion in child prostitution as sex workers migrate to big cities from interior states and pimps recruit more young people to meet increased demand from local and foreign football fans.

 

"We're worried sexual exploitation will increase in the host cities and around them," says Joseleno Vieira dos Santos, who co-ordinates a national programme to fight the sexual exploitation of children at Brazil's Human Rights Secretariat. "We're trying to co-ordinate efforts as much as we can with state and city governments to understand the scope of the problem."

 

But the authorities have a battle on their hands as sex workers prepare to cash in on a bumper trade.

 

The Minas Gerais State Association of Prostitutes, which represents sex workers in one of Brazil's largest states, is even offering free English lessons to prostitutes in the capital Belo Horizonte, another World Cup host city.

 

"There'll be a lot more people circulating in this area during the games for sure and the city will be full of tourists," says Giovana, 19, a transvestite working a corner near Castelão stadium. "I know there'll be more work for everybody – women, girls, everybody."

 

Big bucks

 

The tournament is expected to attract 600,000 foreign visitors to Brazil who will spend an estimated 25bn reals (£6.5bn) while travelling around the country, the Brazilian tourism board, Embratur, says.

 

The championship could inject 113bn reals into the economy by 2014, Fifa has said, citing an Ernst & Young report.

 

Brazil's government will have spent 33bn reals on stadiums, transport and other infrastructure by the time the tournament kicks off, as well as £6m on advertising. In contrast, very little is being spent on fighting the sexual exploitation of minors, campaigners say.

 

The Human Rights Secretariat has set aside 8m reals for host cities to set up projects to fight child prostitution, but not all cities have programmes in place to absorb the funds, Santos says.

 

His department is finishing a review of child prostitution in key locations and will then decide what action to take. But any programmes will scratch only the surface.

 

"We realise we're only touching the tip of the iceberg with these actions for the World Cup, but we hope to build capacity and implement longer-lasting programmes in the future," Santos says.

 

Beyond the Human Rights Secretariat, the government could not provide accurate data on total spending to fight child prostitution but campaigners say some schemes have been shut down. They argue that the government is not doing enough to address the problem.

 

"This subject isn't really part of the government's agenda and we don't see a willingness to combine efforts or increase resources to address the sexual exploitation of children," says Denise Cesario, executive manager of Fundação Abrinq, a local partner of Save the Children International.

 

The lure of Fortaleza

 

Sex tourism occurs across Brazil but Fortaleza – one of the north-east's top tourist destinations with white sandy beaches and about 300 days of sunshine – is the industry's main hub.

 

A culture of machismo, combined with extreme poverty and drug use, has created the perfect environment for sexual exploitation, say social workers like Cecília dos Santos Góis, who works for Cedeca, a children's rights charity.

 

"Women in the north-east have traditionally been treated as second-class citizens, as objects even," she says. "Many fathers see their young daughters as a source of income and that is a cultural attitude that's hard to change."

 

More phone calls are made from Fortaleza to a nationwide toll-free number to report child sexual exploitation than from any other Brazilian city on a per capita basis, experts say.

 

Many of Fortaleza's young sex workers see prostitution as a way of escaping their circumstances. But for 16-year-old Jessica, a tall brunette, her escape plan has landed her in trouble.

 

She began sex work with local clients, earning about $18 (£11) a night, before graduating to bigger nightclubs and groups of foreign tourists for about $90 a night.

 

Police arrested her in September in a raid on a club on Iracema beach, a crowded neighbourhood packed with lively restaurants, hotels and bars.

 

They took her to one of four shelters for underage prostitutes, a discreet two-storey house in a lower-class neighbourhood, accessible only through a narrow iron gate watched around the clock by security guards. She is waiting for a judge to decide whether she can return home to her mother.

 

Waiting for a prince

 

Sitting in the small room she shares with three younger girls, Jessica says one of her regular clients, a Spaniard, has promised to take her to Europe. "I told him I was 18 and I was getting my passport," she says, tucking a rainbow-coloured tank top into green and yellow tropical-print trousers. "I paid 500 reals for a fake ID and was saving money to buy a fake passport. But in the end I was afraid to go."

 

Leonora Albuquerque, one of the shelter's co-ordinators, says Jessica's story is typical. "Like so many girls who get into this life, Jessica has fantasies that she will find her prince charming – a foreign client who will fall in love with her – and he'll take her to Europe and buy her fancy clothes, perfume, jewels," she says.

 

Pimps and clients are rarely punished and when prosecutors do manage to build a case against them, survivors often change their testimonies and the cases are thrown out, says Francisco Carlos Pereira de Andrade, a criminal prosecutor who specialises in child exploitation.

 

Of 2,000 cases before his department, which handles sexual violence against children, only about 20 involve child prostitution.

 

The face of sex tourism in Fortaleza is also changing, making it more difficult to catch criminals, Sousa says.

 

Instead of working the streets, organised rings of pimps, hotel managers and taxi drivers recruit young girls. Foreign clients order the underage prostitutes before they arrive in Fortaleza and they are delivered directly to their hotels, Sousa adds.

 

Girls on the menu

 

Friday night at Iracema beach and a small group of blond German men are drinking beer at pavement tables, watched closely by a bouncer.

 

Six adult sex workers stand nearby, some sitting with them, swishing their hair from side to side. But the tourists have something else on their mind.

 

"They're waiting for a cue to let them know the girls they ordered are ready," says social worker Góis, on one of her routine surveillance rounds of child prostitution hubs. "The bar is involved. The taxi drivers that wait on the corner are probably involved too. And some hotels nearby are part of this network."

 

While international sex tourism is prominent in Fortaleza, it represents only a third of all reported child prostitution cases. Prostitutes with Brazilian clients, from Ceará or surrounding states, are far more common, prosecutors say.

 

That was the case for Vanessa, who was 13 when police picked her up in October, not far from Castelão stadium.

 

She left her home in a poor neighbourhood when she was 10, after her stepfather started to beat her, she says. She has lived mostly on the streets, going to shelters now and then and spending nights with clients, some of whom she calls friends.

 

Her chubby cheeks, perfectly aligned white teeth and sparkling eyes make it hard to believe she is undergoing treatment for crack cocaine abuse. "I want to study; I really like maths. But sometimes I just want to disappear and go and live on Mars with the astronauts," she laughs.

 

Last month, Vanessa broke into the maintenance room at the shelter, took a ladder and scaled the 2.5-metre wall surrounding the building, according to Albuquerque, who works at the shelter. She convinced two other girls, aged 12 and 13, to go back with her to the Castelão stadium area. It was the fourth time she had escaped in less than six months.

 

"It's very hard to convince these girls to lead normal lives," Albuquerque adds. "Most of them think abuse and selling their bodies is just a fact of life."

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking for myself here. IMO, exploiting children like this is the worst crime possible and anyone caught doing so should be executed with no trial

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

At least it is not The Philippines / SE Asia that is being featured.

Link to post
Share on other sites
BossHog

Congrats to the Belgian squad.

 

Hadn't realized they'd qualified.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Kabisay-an gid

Speaking for myself here. IMO, exploiting children like this is the worst crime possible and anyone caught doing so should be executed with no trial

No investigation or trial? So corrupt politicians and other criminals could frame their opponents/enemies for a child sex crime and murder them at will, even though they were completely innocent?

 

Sorry, but I'll pass on your Orwellian "solution". Thank God that here in the U.S. we have the constitutional right to a trial by jury of our peers.

 

I'm all for executing child-sex criminals, AFTER a full investigation and fair trial.

 

 

 

 

.

Edited by Kabisay-an gid
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yet, in some cultures, a girl is expected to be married, by the time she is 12. 

 

I'm just glad my g/f is 33, 34 on the 27th of this month. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking for myself here. IMO, exploiting children like this is the worst crime possible and anyone caught doing so should be executed with no trial

Hmm, and what exactly would be the benefit of abolishing the role of the courts?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Like Paul said, in some cultures girl as young and even younger than 12 are expected to and forced to marry, should they all be executed to? But if some poor starving kid sells themselves to feed there family then bring out the hit squid? This is a big problem in many countries and it is good that it is being highlighted in Brazil at the moment and hopefully force the government there to do something to help there poor soles... 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have personally seen an 8-year-old girl who was raped, 3 boys under the age of 12 who were also raped, a 1-year-old who was shaken so hard by his babysitter that his optic nerves were detached and blood supply to his brain cut off resulting in brain damage. So, yes, I do not believe the "law" works to protect the victims as ALL the perpetrators were given sentences of no more than 10 years.

 

In the case of the 8-year-old girl, she was so terrified that the sight of a man set her off screaming.

 

Life is precious and children need to enjoy innocence as long as they can before the evils of society end that innocence. 

 

EDIT: I work in a hospital

Edited by dHb
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Life is precious and children need to enjoy innocence as long as they can before the evils of society end that innocence. 

 

Very true. They should be playing with Barbie Dolls, not being used for some feckwit's sexual gratification. 

 

We will never get every country in the world to agree to one given age for consent, adulthood, etc. So, in one country, a girl giving herself to a man is legal. Yet, in another, both she and the man can end up doing time for the same act. 

 

Here in Cambodia, 18 is the legal age. However, there is at least one tribe that willingly allows their daughters to start staying with boys / men at the age of 15. They let the girls decide which guy they wish to be with. Odd, but true. 

 

Read about it, here: lovehuts.pdf

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Despite more than a decade of government pledges to eradicate child prostitution, the number of child sex workers in Brazil stood at about half a million in 2012, according to the National Forum for the Prevention of Child Labor, a non-governmental organisation.

 

I don't doubt that there are child prostitutes in Brazil, but when numbers are presented by NGOs, we need to remember that their income derives from convincing donors that the problem is huge.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

They let the girls decide which guy they wish to be with.

I think you will find it works like that almost all over the world...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you will find it works like that almost all over the world...

 

Fair enough. But, in most cultures I know of, the family doesn't build their daughter a house to let her entertain whomever she wishes, until she decides to marry.

Link to post
Share on other sites

more paparazzi bola bola

 

The usual Stadium construction boom has dragged the usual suspects around with them be it for world cups or worlds in egg cups..follow the money.

 

Yes there will be an increase in activity over the 3/4 weeks of the tournament.

 

 

do we not see headlines like this each time a major event takes place like Olympics, and other popular sports world cup events. I seem to remember something similar for last Rugby world cup in NZ where of course the sex trade is legal and liberalized, so much so the only complaint was exhaustion.

 

looks like what ever is going to be sold it will be media print at the expense of a serious topic, now that is what I call sexploitation

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't doubt that there are child prostitutes in Brazil, but when numbers are presented by NGOs, we need to remember that their income derives from convincing donors that the problem is huge.

 

Gotta pay for those nice, large SUVs somehow.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Guidelines. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..

Capture.JPG

I Understand...