AMERICA/BRAZIL - The tragedy of child prostitution behind the glitz of the World Cup

Monday, 23 June 2014

San Paolo (Agenzia Fides) - The government has invested heavily in the construction and renovation of stadiums in the 12 cities which host the matches of the World Cup Brazil 2014, while a short distance from these beautiful buildings there are slums where poverty, hunger, drug trafficking and drug addiction have further unleashed the phenomenon of child prostitution, which is already widespread in the Country. The most marginalized communities in Brazil are in fact trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty, violence and drugs, a sort of "factory where prostitution begins", according to what was reported by a member of the Iris Global, a project of assistance in the favelas. Many children see family members involved in prostitution, mothers and grandmothers who prostitute themselves and consider it a "normal" way of life.
In Recife, thriving coastal city in the northeast of the Country, it is estimated that a child out of four prostitute themselves. There is no official figure, but it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of boys and girls, some as young as 10 years of age, are being exploited in the sex trade, forced by the circumstances, threatened by pimps or trapped in that reality to satisfy drug addiction. The government has launched programs to rid the favelas by criminal gangs and drug traffickers, as well as having started training for child protection. However, representatives of the First Parliamentary Committee on Exploited Children said that the phenomenon of exploitation and sex tourism has become endemic and continues to increase in the Country. They also criticize the police for their indifference, if not complicity, to the problem, letting criminals go unpunished and with very precarious control. The police deny allegations and ensure that it is investing a lot of resources to combat child prostitution. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 23/06/2014)