Brazil struggles to curb sex tourism
The UN estimates that two million young people under the age of 18 are involved in prostitution. Traditionally the trade has been associated with Asia. But in recent years, Brazil has become an increasingly popular destination. There's a paradise quality to Recife on the country's north-east coast. Not the paradise of desert islands and solitude but a more earthly variety, with vibrant beaches and beautiful people. The latter is the attraction for a growing number of foreign tourists who come to Brazil looking for sex, and in many cases theyare willing to pay for it. There is a growing demand, mostly from Germans, Italians and other Europeans. Theycome here not for the culture and beaches, but for sex, often with minors. The age of consent in Brazil is 18, but many of those at work here are much younger.
Recife's secretary for tourism, Romeo Batista, says the long-term antidote to the sex trade lies in better social policies so that Brazilian girls have less need for foreign men and money. But on the question of shortterm solutions, he was somewhat defensive: "Prostitutes exist everywhere - look at Paris for example. Here they just happen to work in highly visible areas, and it's not just a question of getting them off the streets. You have to detain their clients, which is why we've installed cameras which also help reduce violence."
Disponível em: <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4061325.stm>. Acesso em: 17 mar. 2010. (Adaptado).
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