Brazil's Sex tourism Booms

2 posts / 0 new
Last post
Brazil's Sex tourism Booms

Jesus wept!

"One of them, Pia, is dressed in a cropped pink top and mini skirt. The 13-year-old agrees to speak to me about her life as a child prostitute. She explains that she works from the same street corner every night until dawn to fund her and her mother's crack cocaine habit."
"There's lots of girls working around here. I'm not the youngest, my sister is 12, and there's an 11-year-old"


I am really tired of these voyeuristic articles written from the positions of privilege about how "the other half lives". And its not just the gaze from Europe or North America on the poor of the third world (or even the poor in their backyard), but it is also the privileged in places like Latin America that also produce this sensationalist news (the program Vidas Extremas, or Extreme Lives, on "Fuego Cruzado" is a good example of this crap in Spanish language and easy to find on youtube).

Back to the BBC article here's a wing-dinger of a line that is rife with bourgeois ideals about "good" state intervention:

"For the past year, the state capital of Ceara - which also a World Cup host city - has been sending a clear message to sex tourists that they are not welcome. Every week a dozen armed cars and federal police armed with AK-47s sweep through the streets of the red-light district, breaking down the doors of motels and brothels, arresting offenders and taking underage girls into care."

And here is the predictable palliative measure that stresses the role of (Xian) charities in "breaking the cycle":


The British charity Happy Child International plans to build more centres to house a growing number of child prostitutes.

"The crisis for these children turning to prostitution has increased significantly in the north-east of Brazil over the last few years, fuelled by increasing numbers of foreign tourists who travel to Brazil for sex holidays," says Sarah de Carvalho of Happy Child International.

"It is so important to take the children away from the lure of the streets and break the cycle and give them a safe place to live and receive help."

None of these stories ever want to talk about the legacy of colonialism, how tourism is very much tied to colonial mentalities of "exotic" others, or the relationships of inequalities between whiter populations and marginally racialized ones, and the lack of ethics involved in tourism behaviour everywhere! And usually omitted are discussions of smaler scale power dominations - the current class structure based on race, gender and geography in Brasil- which unfolds "on the ground" as widespread social exclusion and, further, punitive policing practices that leave these kids beaten and abused when they BBC ain't there to get the "official narration".

And, of course, no discussion of structural poverty whatsoever produced by capitalist social relations and the mobility of capital that produces uneven development.


As for the organization Happy Child, full of good intentions, it is about producing a moral, christian child that is surrounded by a network of other christians. I don't disagree about the possible good outcomes of this, but clearly their "mission" is one of evangelism and "saving souls on earth", not one of actually ending a charity relationship with the poor or addressing structural issues (ses "what we do" on their website).