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

The Guardian, 12/09/2013

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.

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Brazil’s child sex trade thrives as World Cup looms

Reuters, 12/03/2013

With Brazil hosting the World Cup next year, officials fear an explosion in child prostitution as sex workers migrate to big cities and pimps recruit more underage prostitutes to meet the demand from local and foreign soccer fans.

“We’re worried sexual exploitation will increase in the host cities and around them,” said Joseleno Vieira dos Santos, who coordinates a national program to fight the sexual exploitation of children at Brazil’s Human Rights Secretariat.

“We’re trying to coordinate efforts as much as we can with state and city governments to understand the scope of the problem.”

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Prostitution in Brazil: The wrong signal

The Economist – from the print edition, 04/07/2012

TO HAVE sex with young girls, said Brazil’s highest criminal court on March 27th, is “immoral and reprehensible”. But a man who had sex with three 12-year-olds in 2002, it decided, had committed no crime. Since 2009 the age of consent in Brazil has been 14, but at the time there was merely a presumption that sex with a child below that age involved violence and should therefore be regarded as rape. Reversing a previous ruling by other members of the Higher Court of Justice (STJ), the judges decided that this presumption could not be absolute, but must stand or fall on the facts of each case.

In this case, all three children worked as prostitutes. The mother of one had previously told a lower court that her daughter often missed school to join the other two turning tricks in the town square. That showed that the girls were “far from innocent, naive, ignorant or ill-informed about sexual matters,” the judges said. Whether they were mature enough to consent had to be decided with reference to their wide sexual experience, not just their age.

The judgment has provoked uproar. A congressional committee said it violates children’s constitutional rights, perhaps opening the way for referral to the supreme court. The government will seek to reverse the ruling’s effect. The president of the STJ has offered to take another look, though he warned that the judgment was technical and based on the law as it stood.

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