Child Sex Abuse is Widespread in Brazil

Around 47% of the Brazilian cities in which child and adolescent sexual abuse exists for commercial purposes are small in size, with populations between 20 thousand and 100 thousand inhabitants.

A study released yesterday, January 26, by the Special Secretariat of Human Rights identified the problem in 937 municipalities.


The study considered four activities forms of commercial sexual exploitation: prostitution, trafficking of children and adolescents, pornography, and sexual tourism.


The study was done in partnership with the University of Brasí­lia (UnB) and the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF).


According to the coordinator of the study, Maria Lúcia Leal, who is a researcher at the UnB, the number of municipalities may be even greater.


The study reveals, for example, that actions should concentrate on the Northeast, where 32% of the cities in which sexual exploration occurs are located.


Pernambuco is the state with the largest number of municipalities in which this problem exists in the Northeast: 70, of the regional total of 298. The Southeast has the second highest percentage: 25.7%.


The secretary of Human Rights, Minister Nilmário Miranda, said that the goal is to halve these numbers by 2006. The study does not indicate the number of victims.


“What is important for us is to speak not in numbers but about what we are doing to reverse this situation. If there are 100 thousand, it’s monstrous; if there are 50 thousand or 30 thousand, it’s still monstrous,” the Minister affirmed.


“The idea of a child being sexually exploited is intolerable,” Miranda emphasized.


The study analyzed as well the programs and policies that exist in the country. At the federal level, five Ministries administer 13 projects that deal with the problem directly or indirectly.


Of these, the Family Grant is the one with the widest reach, since it is present in 91.6% of the municipalities.


Programs in the area of housing, education, health, sports, and elimination of child labor are also listed as actions to combat child and adolescent sexual exploitation.


“The main problem at present has to do not only with impunity but also with poverty and inequality,” Leal explained.


169 non-governmental organizations that work in this area were also identified.


Leal pointed out that both the government’s programs and the efforts of organized civil society are still predominately of a welfare nature.


Translation: David Silberstein
Agência Brasil

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