Among the now infamous protests taking over the streets of the World Cup host cities in Brazil, another, more serious problem, is being debated – prostitution, more specifically underaged or child prostitution. Brazil, with a fast-growing economy, still has a great divide between the upper classes of society, and those living in poverty, especially I rural areas.
Prostitution in Brazil is a completely legal practice. Sex workers even have their own national holiday, on June 2nd.
The World Cup host city ran a series of ads earlier this year called “I love being a prostitute” where sex workers are seen posing with statements like , “I’m never seen without a condom, my love” or “I feel proud to call myself a prostitute”. Although some may argue these ads are liberating and could advocate safe sex in the world of prostitution, Brazil came under harsh criticism for their release, specifically from Christian groups, and has decided to pull the ads from the public. Allegedly, the ads were published without final approval, and Brazilian health official Dirceu Greco, was fired over the incident.
Photo: via Business Insider
One obvious fact is, that the prostitution business will boom this summer, as tourists raid the South American country in order to support their prospective nations. Most Brazilian prostitutes, as reported by CNN, have started taking English lessons in order to better communicate with foreign clients.
“Across Brazil, lots of businesses in the private sector are getting prepared and making their workers more qualified for the Cup. Well, this is a profession, too,” Cida Vieira, the president of the Prostitution Association of Belo Horizonte, told CNN in a telephone interview.”
“English will be very important to communicate with clients during the Cup,” Vieira said. “They’ll have to learn how to work out financial deals and also use a specialized vocabulary with sensual words and fetishes.”
Prostiution is 100% legal in Brazil – while exploitation and pimping are completely illegal, and this is the underlying issue.
The tournament is expected to attract over half a million new tourists, and an estimated $11.3 billion will be spent by these tourists within Brazilian borders.
Criminal gangs want their piece of the profit, and are seeking to trade underaged prostitutes to foreign tourists near stadiums and hotel resorts. The children are sold off by families living in poverty who want one less mouth to feed. A spike in child prostitution has been seen near the Corinthians stadium, which will host the tournament opening.
Recently, Brazilian footballers Dani Alves and Neymar have participated in a video campaign against exploitation. The World Childhood foundation hopes that the video will bring awareness and encourage people to fight against this recent epidemic.