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Human Trafficking
Street Children


The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025           

Federative Republic of Brazil

Characterized by large and well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, Brazil's economy outweighs that of all other South American countries and Brazil is expanding its presence in world markets.

Since the onset of the global financial crisis in September, Brazil's currency and its stock market - Bovespa - have significantly lost value, -41% for Bovespa for the year ending 30 December 2008. Brazil incurred another current account deficit in 2008, as world demand and prices for commodities dropped in the second-half of the year.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Brazil

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Brazil.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of child prostitution are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got started, how they survive, and how some succeed in leaving.  Perhaps your paper could focus on runaways and the abuse that led to their leaving.  Other factors of interest might be poverty, rejection, drug dependence, coercion, violence, addiction, hunger, neglect, etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the manipulative and dangerous adults who control this activity.  There is a lot to the subject of Child Prostitution.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims


Ministry of Justice
2025 3587
Country code: 55-



Underage sex, driven by poverty, lures paedophile gringos to a place in the sun

Louise Rimmer in Salvador Brazil, The Independent, 22 November 2003

[accessed 9 April 2011]

This city, on the north-east coast of Brazil, is rich in  culture, and rich with underage sex. Driven by poverty and lured by the prospect of wealthy gringo customers, girls as young as 12 prostitute themselves for as little as £2. "But I am already too old," says Adrianna, a pretty 17-year-old who has been working since she was 12. "Gringos prefer girls between 10 and 14."

Between 250,000 and 2 million children forced into prostitution in Brazil

Libertad Latina, Oct. 11, 2010

[accessed 9 April 2011]

Brazil is considered to have the worst child sex trafficking record after Thailand. According to the recently released Protection Project report, various official sources agree that from 250,000 to 500,000 child live as child prostitutes.  Other sources in Brazil put the number at up to 2,000,000 children.

Little Girls of the Night

Gilberto Dimenstein, NACLA Report on the Americas. Volume: 27. Issue: 6. Publication Date: 1994. Page: 29

[accessed 2 March 2015]

Twelve girls--among them, Ana Meire Lima da Silva, age 15, and Miriam Ferreira dos Santos, 14--make up part of the cargo. They were persuaded to go with promises of work in a restaurant or luncheonette.

Along the row of brothels where the Casa da Dalva is located, most of the prostitutes are young girls. The reason is simple: by age 18, a prostitute is a finished woman, eaten away by illnesses. It's necessary, then, to bring in new labor.

The garimpeiros--the gold diggers--call women over 18 years "chickens," and younger girls "chicks." The psychologist Maria Luiza Pinheiro, from the Brazilian Center for Childhood and Adolescence, frequently travels the routes of this traffic. She has often heard the men who chase the "chicks"say, "I had myself one of 15 kilograms (33 pounds). It was good."


*** ARCHIVES ***

ECPAT Country Monitoring Report [PDF]

Maria Luiza Moura Oliveira – Malú  &  MouraEdneia Glória da Silva, ECPAT International, 2014

[accessed 26 August 2020]


Desk review of existing information on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC) in Brazil. The report looks at protection mechanisms, responses, preventive measures, child and youth participation in fighting SEC, and makes recommendations for action against SEC.

Human Rights Reports » 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 10, 2020

[accessed 23 August 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - Sexual exploitation of children, adolescents, and other vulnerable persons is punishable by four to 10 years in prison. The law defines sexual exploitation as child sex trafficking, sexual activity, production of child pornography, and public or private sex shows. The government enforced the law unevenly. The law sets a minimum age of 14 for consensual sex, with the penalty for statutory rape ranging from eight to 15 years in prison.

While no specific laws address child sex tourism, it is punishable under other criminal offenses. The country was a destination for child sex tourism. In addition, girls from other South American nations were exploited in sex trafficking in the country.

The law criminalizes child pornography. The creation of child pornography carries a prison sentence of up to eight years and a fine. The penalty for possession of child pornography is up to four years in prison and a fine. On March 28, a nationwide operation involving more than 1,500 civil police resulted in the arrest of 141 individuals allegedly involved with child pornography. The Federal Police, in coordination with the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, conducted a series of operations to combat child pornography. On May 23, they executed 28 arrest warrants in eight states.

2018 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2019

[accessed 22 August 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 241]

Children in Brazil engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation. (1-3)

The overall scope and magnitude of commercial sexual exploitation of children is unknown, however in 2018, the Federal Highway Police, in collaboration with Childhood Brazil, published a report that identified 2,487 areas along highways in the country where children are vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation. (1,43) The states with the highest number of vulnerable areas for commercial sexual exploitation of children were Ceará, Goiás, Pará, Minas Gerais, and Paraná. In addition, the Northeast region was found to have the highest number of vulnerable areas in the country, followed by the South. (1,44) Child sex tourism is also particularly common in tourist and coastal areas, and girls from other South American countries are exploited for commercial sex in Brazil. (36)

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) - 2004

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1 October 2004

[accessed 24 January 2011]

[62] The Committee welcomes the decision of the State party’s President, to make the fight against child sexual exploitation a priority of his Government. However, the Committee is deeply concerned by the wide occurrence of sexual exploitation and related issues.

Remember the child victims of sex tourism

Sarah de Carvalho et al, Sept. 27, 2010, The Guardian

[accessed 8 April 2011]

In Brazil, along with partner organisations, we are working to mitigate the effects of this insidious trend; reports state that the country is overtaking Thailand as the most popular destination for child sex tourism. Despite Brazil's growing economy, street children in cities like Recife, in the north-east of the country, are turning to prostitution simply to afford a plate of food.

Life on the street for these children is grim and often punctuated by violence, drug addiction and sexual abuse. Many girls fall pregnant by the age of 12. The statistics are heart-wrenching – UNICEF estimates that there are as many as 250,000 child prostitutes in Brazil.

Welcome to Brazil, a Paradise of Impunity for All Kinds of Criminals

Augusto Zimmermann, L.L.B., L.L.M., Ph.D. teaches constitutional law at Murdoch University, Western Australia.

This paper was presented at the Criminal Law Workshop held by the John Fleming Centre for Advancement of Legal Research at the Australian National University College of Law, 7-9 February 2008

[accessed 21 July 2013]

VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN - A 2002 report from the International Labor Organization (ILO) reveals that more than 3,000 girls from the sparsely populated state of Rondônia are subject to conditions of slavery and prostitution.

According to law, children can only travel with the permission of their parents. But in practice, many of them have been trafficked for prostitution. Girls from rural areas are recruited in cities as prostitutes by strip clubs and modelling agencies, as well as through "wanted" advertisements. Along the coastal areas, sexual tourism involves child prostitution and is facilitated by travel agents, hotel workers and taxi drivers.

The United Nations has estimated that around 500,000 Brazilian children are victims of sexual exploitation. The U.N. also states that in the northern and northeastern regions, "most sexual crimes against children and adolescents are not investigated, and in some cases representatives of the judiciary are involved in those cases."

Over 400 arrested in Sao Paulo for using child prostitution

Xinhua News Agency, Rio De Janeiro, Nov. 30, 2007

[accessed 9 April 2011]

Sao Paulo police arrested over 400 people allegedly involved in using child prostitutes in nightclubs in Brazil's biggest city, police said Friday.  The police operation, which started Thursday evening and continued to Friday morning, targeted a total of 17 nightclubs that allegedly admitted or promoted the prostitution of children and adolescents under 18.

Brazil Fights Child Sex Amid Carnival Tourism Boom

Reuters, Rio De Janeiro, 27 January 2005

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 13 September 2011]

Hotlines to report the crime have been set up and have police made various arrests, including pimps on Rio beaches who had albums with pictures of young girls and boys for tourists to order. Several charter flights from Italy organized by a ring that dealt in child sex have been canceled. All hotel receptionists will sign a clause banning check-in of guests accompanied by youths if they are not related.

NBC Nightly News to feature American Baptist ministry

Hannah Elliott, Associated Baptist Press ABP, Valley Forge Pennsylvania, December 21, 2006

[accessed 12 Aug  2013]

“The situation with street kids in Brazil has not gotten a lot of attention,” Bostian said. “Only 18 percent of these kids are biological orphans. The rest are social orphans. They think they would be better off on their own away from their home. Most die from violence in the streets.”

Many of the children suffer from poor health and malnutrition. Because of rape and forced child prostitution, they are often exposed to HIV/AIDS. According to the Brazilian Center for Children and Adolescents, Brazil has more than 800,000 child prostitutes. Drugs also run rampant among the children, who sniff glue to escape reality.

The Protection Project - Brazil [DOC]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Along the border between Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina, young prostituted children and adolescents can be seen on the streets. It is estimated that close to 3,500 children and adolescents under the age of 18 are victims of commercial sexual exploitation in the region.  In Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, a large number of Brazilian children and adolescents are victims of sexual exploitation. 

Official Brazilian sources acknowledge that child prostitution is a growing problem within the country.  According to a January 2005 report, child prostitution rings operate in 937 municipalities throughout the country. Nearly a third of those rings are located in poor areas of the northeast.  Truck drivers have noted an enormous increase in prostituted children working the highways throughout the country in recent years.  Estimates vary widely as to the number of children and women in the commercial sex industry in Brazil. Numbers range from as low as 100,000 to as high as 2 million.

Five Years After Stockholm [PDF]

ECPAT: Fifth Report on implementation of the Agenda for Action [DOC]

ECPAT International, November 2001

[accessed 13 September 2011]

[B] COUNTRY UPDATES – BRAZIL – The federal government, state governments, international organizations and NGOs have been highly effective in coordinating actions and cooperating to tackle the commercial sexual exploitation of children. In the Central Western Region, an Inter-state Commission to Tackle Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, known as “CIRCO”, was established in 1998. It includes representatives from NGOs, international organizations and the governments of the four states of Mato Grosso, Distrito Federal, Mato Grosso do Sul and Goiás. In the northeast state of Pernambuco, a network of 32 governmental organizations, international organizations and NGOs has been established to combat sexual exploitation of children and adolescents.

Report by Special Rapporteur [DOC]

U.N. Economic and Social Council, Commission on Human Rights, Fifty ninth session, 6 January 2003$FILE/G0310090.doc

[accessed 9 April 2011]

[30] The Statute of the Child and Adolescent criminalizes the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and the child involved does not incur criminal liability.  UNICEF is involved in a number of initiatives to combat sexual abuse and exploitation of girls, particularly in the north and north-east regions, and is studying the phenomenon of commercial sexual exploitation and domestic sexual abuse of girls, including the situation of street children, many of whom who resort to prostitution for survival.  However, commercial sexual exploitation affects a far wider number of girls who may live at home or in guesthouses, apartments and brothels.  Sexual exploitation of boys on the street also occurs, but there is very little research or information published about it.  Children are exploited through sex tourism, and government efforts against this include circulars sent by the National Tourist Board to hotels warning of the consequences of involvement in sexual exploitation.  “Sexual Exploitation of Children is a Crime” has been stamped on tourist literature and airline ticket covers.

Brazil cracks down on child prostitution

The Associated Press AP, Sao Paulo Brazil, 13th October, 2005

[accessed 9 April 2011]

Brazilian federal police arrested 27 people in a nationwide crackdown on child prostitution, authorities said Thursday.  Police also scooped up 51 children – including three younger than 12 years old – during Wednesday’s operation, which coincided with Brazil’s Children’s Day.

Brazil Cracks Down On Child Prostitution

Carmen J. Gentile, The San Francisco Chronicle Foreign Service, Rio de Janeiro, February 5, 2005

[accessed 9 April 2011]

Seeking to crack down on an epidemic of child prostitution, the Brazilian government is targeting Carnival, the annual pre-Lenten festival during which the illicit trade reaches its zenith.

Brazil maps child prostitution

BBC News, 27 January, 2005

[accessed 9 April 2011]

Child prostitution rackets operate in almost 1,000 municipalities in Brazil, according to a government study mapping the underground industry.  Almost one in five of the country's large cities harbors well-organized under-age sex rings, officials say.  Activity is especially rife along the triple border where Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina meet.

Child Prostitution On The Rise In Brazil

Selma B. de Oliveira, International Child Resource Institute ICRI, December 1995

[accessed 9 April 2011]

Brazil's economic crisis in recent years has aggravated chronic social ills, placing the country among other nations with the highest degree of unbalanced distribution of land and wealth in the world. As a sad illustration of further social decay, the Brazilian Center for Childhood and Adolescence (CBIA) has recently estimated that there are about 500,000 girls who have turned to prostitution to earn a living.

The prostitution of girls in Brazil is the direct consequence of years of economic recession, and the low status afforded to women in the country.  Because women have a limited access to occupations and resources, they are the ones hardest hit during economic crises.  With the growth of the tourism industry, selling their bodies has become a way for poor girls to have access to the dollars of tourists.

Thailand Ranks Third in Number of Child Prostitution – [Brazil ranks fifth]

People's Daily Online, 14 Dec 2001

[accessed 9 April 2011]

Thailand ranks third after India and the U.S. in the number of child prostitutes, the United Nations (UN) said in its report prepared for the Second World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation.  According to the U.N. report, about 400,000 women and children are believed to be sexually exploited in India, between 244,000 and 325,000 in the U.S., 200,000 in Thailand, 175,000 in eastern and central Europe, 100,000 in Brazil and 35,000 in West Africa.

Little Girls Of The Night

Gilberto Dimentein, North American Congress on Latin America NACLA Report on the Americas, May/June 1994 -- adapted from Gilberto Dimentein's book Meninas da Noite (Editora Atica S.A., 1992). Translated from the Portuguese by NACLA

[accessed 9 April 2011]

Indeed a number of girls consider prostitution an avenue to freedom. They are fleeing the oppression of a patriarchal household, where it is not uncommon for the family to be in conflict and often violent. In some cases, the girls are trying to escape boring, poorly paid jobs. They are seduced by the dream of having a room of their own and earning more money.

The Price of a Slave in Brazil

Bernardete Toneto, [originally in Portuguese in the newspaper Brasil de Fato], February 2004

[accessed 17 April 2012]

Brazil is responsible for 15 percent of women trafficked in South America, a great majority being from the North and the Northeast. Most of them are young—between 12 and 18 years old—have little schooling, and are of African descent. Currently, the "market value" of a Brazilian woman is up to US$ 15,000. - htcp

Report by Special Rapporteur - Mission to Brazil [DOC]

U.N. Economic and Social Council, Commission on Human Rights, Sixtieth session, 3 February 2004$File/G0410754.doc?OpenElement

[accessed 9 April 2011]

26. Sex tourism is one of the most widespread forms of CSEC in Brazil.  Millions of foreign tourists visit Brazil each year.  There were over 5.3 million in 2000, decreasing to some 3.7 million in 2002, mainly originating in South America and Europe.

32. Statistics on child labour for 2001 indicated that 5.5 million children aged between 5 and 17 work.  Twenty-two per cent of working children do not attend school.  Five hundred thousand girl children aged 5 to 14 perform domestic work.   This is an invisible form of child labour that exposes girls to the risk of sexual exploitation.

Brazil to fight sex tourism as Carnival nears

[unspecified news agencies], 2004-02-12

[accessed 9 April 2011]

A special U.N. envoy said in November the problem of child prostitution and sexual exploitation in Brazil was worse than in most other countries because of poverty, crime and tourism.  Non-governmental organisations estimate the number of child prostitutes in Brazil at between 100,000 and 500,000, out of a total population of 175 million.

Brazil: Must Tackle Child Prostitution

The Associated Press AP WorldStream English: Geneva, Feb 18, 2004

[accessed 9 April 2011]

"The political commitment of the government to fight child sexual exploitation is strong and tangible," said Juan Miguel Petit, U.N. special envoy on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. But tougher rules are needed to protect young victims who may number up to 500,000, Petit said in a report.  "The policy framework for fighting exploitation is in place," he said. "But filtering policies and programs from the central, federal level down to the grass-roots level is a major difficulty."

Brazil and UNICEF join to end child prostitution

Arabela Rota, UN Chronicle, Winter 1997

[accessed 11 September 2012]

In Brazil, child prostitution is a widespread phenomenon and it permeates all social classes. Efforts to call attention to the problem have focused upon the areas of greatest prevalence: the gold camps of the Amazon region; the port area of Santos; and the tourist attractions of Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Recife and Fortaleza.

Brazil Acts On Child Prostitution

Steve Kingstone, BBC News, Sao Paulo, 9 July, 2004

[accessed 9 April 2011]

Congress approved a report recommending that more than 200 people be investigated for crimes against children and adolescents.  Those under suspicion include senior public figures, among them politicians, judges, business leaders and priests.  It is thought that up to half a million children in Brazil could be involved in prostitution.




Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 7 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS - According to the Reference Center on Children and Adolescents (CECRIA), patterns of sexual exploitation of children corresponded to the distinct economic and social profiles of the country's regions. In the Amazon region, sexual exploitation of children took place in brothels that catered to mining settlements. In large urban centers, girls who left home to escape abuse or sexual exploitation often prostituted themselves on the streets to survive. In the cities along the northeast coast, sexual tourism exploiting children was prevalent and involved networks of travel agents, hotel workers, taxi drivers, and others who actively recruited children and trafficked them outside the country. The Ministry of Tourism found that 398 of the 1,514 tourist destinations frequented by citizens had an active sexual commercial market for children and adolescents.

Child prostitution also developed in the areas served by the country's navigable rivers, particularly in ports and at international borders. NGOs estimated that approximately 500 thousand children were involved in prostitution.

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 24 January 2011]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

CURRENT GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND PROGRAMS TO ELIMINATE THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR - The National Plan to Fight Sexual Violence Against Children and Adolescents provides the policy framework for the government’s programs to combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents. These efforts include initiatives to assist victims and raise awareness. The primary program to assist child victims of commercial sexual exploitation is the Sentinel Program, which establishes local reference centers to provide victims with psychological, social, and legal services.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Child Prostitution - Brazil",, [accessed <date>]