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Sender: owner-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 97 15:12:58 CDT
From: sejup@ax.apc.org
Subject: Brazil: Children and 'sex-tourism'

Child prostitutes used in ‘sex tourism’ in Pantanal

SEJUP (Servico Brasileiro de Justica e Paz), News from Brazil, No. 287, 17 September 1997

The large region of wetlands known as the Pantanal in Mato Grosso do Sul has become a center of tourism especially for those interested in fishing. The region is one of the largest angling regions in the country. According to a report in the 'Folha de Sao Paulo' on September 14 'sex tourism' now has become a well known attraction for numerous visitors to the region - many are from other regions of Brazil and especially from Sao Paulo.

A recent survey carried out in partnership by the Ministry of Justice, Unicef and the government of the State of Mato Grosso do Sul identified 65 localities of prostitution in six cities in the Pantanal region. Many of the prostitutes are young girls. The important information which came to light in this survey is the link between fishing and prostitution commented social psychologist Jacy Correa Curado who worked on the project. Approximately 200 thousand tourists are attracted to the region each year - 70% of this total comes from Sao Paulo according to the state tourism board.

In Porto Murtinho, a town of 11 thousand inhabitants six locations of prostitution were identified during the survey. In Campo Grande (population of 600 thousand) 12 such establishments were found. Here over 100 young girls from Sao Paulo, Goias, Parana, Minas Gerais and even from Paraguay and Chile are involved in programs of sex tourism according to the local Titular Council for Children and Adolescents. On many occasion the girls are hired by tourists for periods of one or two weeks. This same trend is also very common in the municipality of Coxim where young girls are hired by tourists staying in anglers' campments. In Corumba (population 87.8 thousand) 16 prostitution establishments were located.

Typical of the prostitution establishments is that owned by Ernesto Ramires Vieira in Porto Murtinho on the banks of the River Paraguay. The establishment has 18 rooms each with air conditioning and a frigobar. 42 prostitutes work in the establishment. As many as 250 men visit the establishment each night according to the owner. Up to 600 bottles of beer are sold at the weekend. The owner claimed that he was proud of the high level of his 'customers' which include well-known football players, business men, actors and singers. During the 15 minutes in which he was giving the interview to the Folha reporter he received three phone calls asking that girl prostitutes be reserved for different clients.

In April last the government of the State of Mato Grosso do Sul decided to set up commissions in all municipalities to combat the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents.