How prostitution in Brazil is facing the World Cup

by Roberto Amado - 2014.01.14
How prostitution in Brazil is facing the World Cup
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600,000 foreign visitors and a revenue of about $ 10 billion are expected for the World Cup in Brazil in June and July 2014. But it is also expected that some of this money will be used for hiring prostitutes in 12 cities hosting the event.

In São Paulo, headquarter of World Cup Opening, are expected 300,000 foreign visitors and many prostitutes from other cities are planning to move to São Paulo during the event. Brenda, a 19 years old girl, who works in Vitoria, Espirito Santo, has already rented, with eight friends, a flat in the city center of Sao Paulo. "In Vitoria, we charge $ 75 for a date, but during the World Cup we could charge up to three times," she says. Karina, a dental student in Paraná, is planning to go to São Paulo exclusively for the World Cup: she will receive $ 5,000 to give exclusive attention for two weeks to a German businessman.

Some of most known houses of prostitution in São Paulo are also investing in infrastructure and seeking to hire professionals who speak English and Spanish. This is the case of a "massage house" next to Congonhas airport, which will provide up to 50 % more girls for customers during World Cup. The house also will feature a limousine to pick up their clients in the hotels. "It's important to have good communication with the hotels because they indicate us to the guests. We already have a good experience in Formula 1 and Indy but in the World Cup we will be much busier. Therefore we will select several girls out of Sao Paulo in order to attend everyone" says the manager of the massage house.

In Belo Horizonte, which will host six World Cup matches, is expecting 200,000 foreigners and the Association of Prostitutes of Minas Gerais ( Aprosmig ) is offering English courses and other languages for its sex workers. According to the president of the association, Cida Vieira, "they will also follow the tourists in sight-seeing, as a tour guide". To vice president of Aprosmig, Laura Maria, 54, for many prostitutes is important to speak English because it may represent more than a new customer. "They have that dream of finding a great love that comes from abroad", says the woman who's 20 years in the profession.

Fortaleza, which will receive six games of the World Cup, is one of the most touristic cities in Brazil, with its white sand beaches and sunshine all the year round. Nevertheless, it is a city with a large poor population in which sexual exploitation is common, especially for children. There is a true clandestine trade concerning teen agers girls who are recruited by hotel managers and taxi drivers. "Foreign clients order underage prostitutes who are delivered directly by the hotels pimps," explains prosecutor Carlos Francisco Pereira de Andrade, specialized in child exploitation.

In Brazil, prostitution is not a crime. But houses and agents offering prostitutes are illegal. For this reason, and noting the increased flow of tourists during the World Cup, Congressman Jean Wyllys has a project to legalize "massage houses" (called in Brazil also "privê") and regulate the profession of prostitutes, so they could have worker benefits such as unemployment insurance and health care. "The goal is to ensure dignity to sex workers," said Wyllys. "They are exploited by pimps who act illegally corrupting police and surveillance, a strategy in which they all earn profits, but not the prostitutes, the main victims".

Published in Human Trafficking.
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