Rebeca Duran

Rebeca Duran

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Prostitution in Brazil

Rebeca Duran

Rebeca Duran

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Prostitution is the most antique profession in the entire world; it is also a practice of many faces in Brazil. This article gives an overview of the Brazilian prostitution scenario.

In Brazil, there's a demand for the sexual services of prostitutes – not only among women, but also among men and transgenders. In the 1970 decade and in the beginning of 1980 decade, prostitutes organized themselves into a political movement headed by Gabriela Leite – an ex-prostitute, founder of the branch Daspu and president of the NGO Da Vida.

Since then, these minorities have been fighting and claiming their rights. With time, some of their woes were attended but the fight is still ongoing with the international events of 2014 and 2016 that will be hosted by Brazil. With these events, the number of foreigners in the country will grow and will probably increase the demand for prostitution services.

Prostitution as a Legal Matter

Prostitution is not a crime in Brazil, it has been a legalized profession since 2000. Within that year, a new version of the Brazilian Classification of Occupations – known as CBO – was coordinated by the Brazilian Ministry of Labor. The new CBO recognized prostitution as an occupation, naming the ones that performed this practice as “profissionais do sexo” – sex professionals.

The recognition of sex professionals was an innovation to the Brazilian law that, for many years, has preferred to confront prostitution instead of dealing with this question. The inclusion of this new profession in CBO was followed by the eradication of all that was comprised in the Brazilian Penal Code which criminalizes prostitution practices.

Effort to the Regulate Prostitution Houses

Prostitution might be legalized by the Brazilian state, but prostitution houses aren't. The illegality of this type of houses is almost a contradiction, considering that most of the prostitutes can't afford to work in an autonomous way.

The houses might be illegal, but aren't unusual in Brazil. Most of them are full of corruption and sexual exploitation. Having this in mind and an eye on the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games that will be hosted by Brazil, the federal deputy Jean Wyllys presented, in 2013, the Grabriela Leite project of law. A project that aims to regulate the prostitutes' profession and rights.

The project would not only put an end to the terrible situations which prostitutes are subjected, but would also help to avoid child prostitution and human trafficking for sexual exploitation. The Gabriela Leite law also emphasizes the urgency to regulate prostitution houses and the difference between: sexual services and sexual exploitation.

Sex as a Tourist Attraction and Child Prostitution

Some countries are recognized worldwide by their sexual tourism, a practice defined by the Tourism International Organization as, "a travel with the purpose of establishing sex relations with the residents of the visiting country" – with money as the trading factor.

Brazil is also a target of sexual tourism, mainly characterized by child prostitution. Foreigners come to Brazil mainly from Europe and – in a lower scale – from united States, looking for sexual relations with minors. The child sexual tourism is an extremely serious problem to the Brazilian State, especially in coastal areas and in touristic complexes in the Northeast.

Risks of Child and Adolescents' Sexual Exploitation Per State

A study of the Federal Police indicates 1,820 points of risks in Brazilian federal highways. A big part of the points are concentrated in the Northeast (545) and 67% in the urban areas. The other regions of the country also present high concentrations: South (399), Southeast (371), Center West (281) and the North (224).

Brazilian State Risky of Child and Adolescents Sexual Exploitation Per State
Acre 19
Alagoas 32
Amapá 6
Amazonas 4
Bahia 148
Ceará 44
Distrito Federal 10
Espírito Santo 48
Goiás 117
Maranhão 30
Mato Grosso 45
Mato Grosso do Sul 109
Minas Gerais 133
Pará 69
Paraíba 29
Paraná 168
Pernambuco 87
Rio de Janeiro 98
Rio Grande do Norte 110
Rio Grande do Sul 154
Rondônia 49
Roraima 25
Santa Catarina 77
São Paulo 52
Sergipe 18
Tocantins 52

Despite the continued efforts of Brazilian authorities regarding child sexual tourism and sexual exploitation investigations, there were no reports of prosecutions or convictions of tourists seeking sex with children inside Brazilian borders.

Global Web of Sexual Trafficking

Brazil, in a small degree, is a place of men, women, and child sexual trafficking. According to the annual report of the USA Department of State – Traffic in Persons 2010 Country Narratives – a high number of Brazilian women are transported to European countries, such as Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Switzerland, France and Germany.

United States and Japan are also trafficking destinies, as well as some South American countries like Suriname, Guiana Francesa, Guyana, and Venezuela. Brazilian transgenders and men are also exploited by trafficking mainly in Spain and in Italy.

Difficulties of Government Actuation

The Brazilian Government is not in total conformity with the minimum requirements to eliminate sexual trafficking. Even though the country is trying to confront this criminal activity, the shelters and government services specialized for victims of all forms of trafficking remained inadequate.

The authorities continued to make partnerships with the international and civil society organizations, but the numbers of these crimes in Brazil are still growing. Just within 2009 to 2010, nine sentences condemning sexual trafficking were accounted, while more than 2,800 potential victims of trafficking were identified in 2012.