The National Association of Federal Prosecutors, says that the decision by a panel of judges at the Superior Appellate Court, that sex with a minor of less than 14 years of age is not necessarily rape, is an affront to the principle of absolute protection of children under the Brazilian constitution.
The STJ panel ruled that a man was not guilty of rape after he had sex with three girls, all of them aged 12, because the girls were already prostitutes.
The president of the ANPR, Alexandre Caminho de Assis, called the ruling a “safe conduct to sexual exploitation.”
The idea, as put forth by the court, said Assis, that a 12-year-old girl was conscious of her body to point where she freely became a prostitute, was patently absurd. The court ruling is contrary to the main current of Brazilian public opinion, said the ANPR president.
The STJ panel arrived at a not guilty verdict based on the argument that the children had been prostitutes for a long time.
Assis and many other government authorities have expressed concern with the ruling because of the spotlight that will be on Brazil as it hosts a series of international events over the next few years.
For example, Aparecida Gonçalves, the head of the Secretariat of Women Affairs, says Brazil could be denounced before the United Nations or the Organization of American States for abusing the rights of children and adolescents.
Brazil’s international calendar is pretty full and begins in less than 60 days, in June, with the United Nations Rio+20 Sustainable Development Conference.
Then, in 2013, there is the Confederation Soccer Cup, followed a year later by the World Cup. Finally, there are the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.