Last March, after reading several online articles about the expected increase in prostitution and human trafficking in relation to the World Cup in Brazil, I decided to research the issue of child prostitution. Although I expected this to be a complex issue, I did not realize how many challenges and myths I would encounter while researching the topic. It seemed that many sources cited the number of child prostitutes as ranging fromto ,
The age of consent in Brazil is 14regardless of gender or sexual orientationwith a judicial precedent showing that a close-in-age exception that allows those aged 12 and 13 to engage in sexual activity with partners who are 5 years older or less is legal, although not constitutionally formalized. In any case, only individuals aged 18 or older can be legally charged, as this is the Brazilian age of criminal responsibility according to the Constitution of Brazil. Sexual acts with children younger than 7 are strictly illegal, and equivalent to statutory rapeand are legally defined by Article A of the Brazilian Penal Code as the " rape of a vulnerable person," with a penalty of 8 to 15 years in prison.
Among the methods the government -- led by the Ministry of Tourism -- will use to thwart child prostitution is the creation of a code of ethics for tourism-related business like hotels and guide services. Brazil is world renowned as a destination for sex tourists from the United States and Europe who prowl for underage prostitutes, particularly in the country's impoverished northeast where there has been a recent rise in the number of children in the sex industry. Carnival is a particularly busy time of year for the trade, as thousands of additional tourist flock to Brazil to partake in the often-hedonistic, multi-day celebration.
The dimly lighted clubs and bustling bars where a tourist can pick up a girl or boy for sex are widely known in Recife, a beach city in Brazil's impoverished northeast that has built a reputation for prostitution. Even on a quiet weeknight in the upscale Boa Viagem tourist district, girls as young as 12, teenage boys and young transvestites line up under the bright lights of the main thoroughfare hoping for foreign customers. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva made ending child prostitution one of his main campaign promises.
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. Child prostitution is driven mostly by local demand in Brazil, with more than 75 percent of clients coming from the same or nearby states as their victims, according to estimates from the secretariat. In contrast, very little is being spent on fighting the sexual exploitation of minors, campaigners say.
An estimatedpeople are set to descend upon Brazil for the celebrated sporting event. For those who are 18 years old or older, prostitution is completely legal in Brazil. But advocates say that an inordinate number of people selling sex on the streets are nowhere near legal age.
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Seeking to crack down on an epidemic of child prostitution, the Brazilian government is targeting Carnival, the annual pre-Lenten festival during which the illicit trade reaches its zenith. The celebration begins today. Across the country, local officials and workers with UNICEF are putting up posters and handing out flyers at airports and popular Carnival locales warning adult tourists that they could spend four to 10 years in prison if they have sex with anyone younger than
This city, on the north-east coast of Brazil, is rich in African culture, and rife with underage sex. Brazil has one of the world's worst reputations for child prostitution. Salvador has just been visited by the Juan Miguel Petit, the UN's special rapporteur on child prostitution, child pornography and trafficking of women and children. Mr Petit called the Brazilian government's attitude "generally positive", but added: "There is a sense of resignation, as if these children and adolescents are genetically predisposed or condemned by fate to be sexually exploited.