US Tour Operator Sued for Selling Sex with Minor Indian Girls in the Brazilian Amazon

Wet-A-Line ToursFour Brazilian Indian women, allegedly sex trafficked as minors by an American fishing tour operator, Richard Schair, operating Wet-A-Line Tours in the Amazon for many years up until 2009, are bringing a lawsuit for damages in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

Initiated and coordinated by international human rights organization Equality Now, the landmark civil case will be filed by Atlanta law firm King & Spalding. The case is noteworthy because it is the first time that the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) will be used by alleged victims of trafficking to seek damages from a sex tour operation.

Wet-A-Line Tours, which organized fishing tours on the Amazon mainly for U.S. customers, allegedly lured girls from the surrounding indigenous communities onto the fishing boats promising them a chance to earn money.

Once on the boat, the girls allegedly were given alcohol and drugs and made to perform sexual acts with men on the fishing tours. The four plaintiffs in this case were all under the age of 18 when they were allegedly sold for sex on a Wet-A-Line fishing boat.

The youngest girl is believed to have been only 12 years old. Wet-A-Line Tours and owner/operator Richard Schair have reportedly been under investigation by Brazilian authorities. A criminal case has reportedly been initiated against Schair in Brazil.

Equality Now has been a leading voice against the sex tourism industry in the United States for over 15 years. Although there are still no official statistics on the number of sex tour operators in the United States, evidence shows that a significant number of sex tours are organized by individuals or companies on the Internet.

There are also dedicated websites that provide extensive information about travel, accommodations, tips and availability of women and girls for sale for interested sex tourists.

Taina Bien-Aimé, Executive Director of Equality Now explains, “This unprecedented case focuses on the criminal links between human trafficking and the sex tourism industry operating from the United States with impunity. We hope it sends a loud and clear message to all sex tour operators in the United States that sex trafficking victims anywhere can bring a case against those who exploit them by pressing for damages in the U.S.”

John Harbin, a partner with King & Spalding who will lead the litigation effort, states that, “With this lawsuit, we hope to shine a spotlight on such conduct and the real harm it does to the victims, and to get justice for the victims.”

While countless women and girls are victims of trafficking through sex tourism, these particular victims were children at the time of the alleged crimes.

UNICEF estimates that about 250,000 children are forced into the commercial sex industry in Brazil, the second largest number after Thailand and a top destination for sex tourism.

The 2010 Trafficking In Persons Report of the U.S. State Department highlighted concerns of “serious official complicity in trafficking crimes at the local level,” and “that police turned a blind eye to child prostitution and potential human trafficking activity in commercial sex sites” in Brazil.

“It is time for the U.S. federal government to take all forms of sex tourism seriously,” continued Bien-Aimé, “and apply the law to the fullest extent to punish the perpetrators and protect the victims of American sex tourism around the world.”

Equality Now is an international human rights organization that works to protect and promote the rights of women and girls around the world. Equality Now’s Women’s Action Network comprises 35,000 groups and individual members in over 160 countries.

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  • Show Comments (4)

  • capnamerca

    Yes Forrest . .
    There is nothing in this world I am more passionate about . . .

    I read that article a couple years ago. And, there have been a few articles in the Brazilian press about child prostitution in Brazil It makes me sick to my stomach, literally. Personally, I think child molesters should be executed. I don’t think that whatever is in their twisted minds can be rehabilitated or cured, and I don’t care to see my tax dollars or anyone else’s go to support them in prison.

    When a society does not take care of it’s most vulnerable people, those which will inherit that society and carry on the traditions and customs of the society that allowed them to be abused, the society is doomed. Many studies have shown that most child abusers were themselves abused as a child. Therefore, as we allow this despicable behavior to increase and thrive, the problem grows exponentially as the generations turn over.

    The U.S. itself has a substantial problem right now with child prostitution, and it’s only getting worse every day. Just google “child prostitution seattle”, you’ll see what I mean. They’re even selling these kids on the internet. The authorities know all about it, and do very little to stop it.

    I hope this guy, if he truly is guilty spends time in the general population of a Brazil prison. Truly, I hope they make an example of him.

  • Forrest A Brown

    capnamerca
    Look to Brazilia for what they say is exploitation of a minor.
    If any one is doing this be they a gringo or brazilian.
    Jail time is warnted.to all persons from the ones who pay for them to the ones who sell them.

    have you ever been to the bus station in Brazilia dozens of children selling themselves to any one but then you see them with the police or some brasilian puting them in a car and driving off with them

    lets be fare to the kids and look to the parents of thies kids to start with.

    and then hang out the real people who exploite them
    I know the USA will go after any child molester and get real that is all it is just a sick minded person getting their jollies off at the expence of others

    Epidemic of Lolitas in Brazil. Girls as Young as 10 Led into Prostitution. another head line form this very form

  • capnamerca

    Correction . . .
    I see after more investigation that this man is most probably guilty of these accusations. This case has been going on for several years, and Th Brazil courts have been working on the case.

    I truly hope justice is served. I detest anyone of any nationality who would prey on children, and have a particular concern about unscrupulous people and companies taking advantage of young, uneducated boys and girls. Sexual exploitation of Brazil’s youth is the most despicable of crimes. I pray for justice in this case.

  • capnamerca

    Who knows.
    If this man has done what he is accused of, he should not only be sued, but prosecuted to the max.

    But . . . this man claims that a competitor has paid these young women to make these claims only to ruin his business. It does sound like a distinct possibility, and typical of crooked Brazilian business operators. Hope the truth is found, and whoever is guilty in this thing gets what they deserve. If he’s guilty, he definitely should pay the price.

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