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Brazil Says Child Sex Is Serious Matter. Crime Involves Authorities and Elites.

Sexual exploitation of children continues to be a serious problem in Brazil, "reaching worrisome proportions in some states and involving the participation or complicity of government authorities," states the 2nd Brazilian Report in compliance with the 1996 International Pact on Civil and Political Rights.

The report was presented this week before the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Commission in Geneva.

The report relates a series of measures that Brazil has adopted to combat the problem. "We operate on the premise that any violation of any child is a totally unacceptable situation. We must make an effort involving society and the State to ensure the effective implementation of the Statute for Children and Adolescents (ECA) and the perspective that children are creatures who deserve the protection of the family, society, and the State," affirms the undersecretary of Human Rights, Mário Mamede.

In 2003, the Special Undersecretariat for Human Rights created the National Plan for the Confrontation of Abuse and Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents. The Inter-sectorial Commission for the Confrontation of Abuse and Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents was also formed.

The commission includes representatives of the federal government, the legislature, civil society, and international agencies. According to the federal government, the work of the commission resulted in an increase in the number of incidents investigated by the Federal Police and the creation of a Public Defense Ministry task force in each state in Brazil.

"At present the policy to combat sexual exploitation has countrywide coverage," Mamede affirms.

Among other activities, Mamede cites the Program of Integrated Referential Activities for the Confrontation of Sexual Abuse of Children and Adolescents (PAIR). One of the objectives of this program is to develop studies to analyze the situation of sexual abuse of children and adolescents.

Brazilian laws provide for severe punishment in cases of abuse, violence and sexual exploitation involving children and adolescents.

The Statute for Children and Adolescents also considers it a crime to present, produce, sell, disseminate, or publish photographs or images of pornography or explicit sex via any vehicle of communication, including the Internet, or to submit a child or adolescent to sexual exploitation.

According to the Brazilian Report, young girls are sexually exploited in mining zones, major urban centers, and by so-called sexual tourism.

The report relates various measures adopted by the Brazilian government to investigate and reduce child trafficking for sexual exploitation.

For example, Brazil ratified the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Convention 182, which combats sexual exploitation for commercial gain and determines that adolescents cannot be submitted to hard or degrading labor.

In 2003 the National Congress formed a Joint Parliamentary Investigative Commission (CPMI) to investigate rings involved in the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents. The CPMI visited 22 states.

The cases that were investigated indicate the existence of serious forms of exploitation and prostitution rings, domestic and international trafficking rings, rings of sexual tourism to attract foreign tourists, and sexual violence and abuse involving adolescents with deficiencies and practiced in circles frequented by members of economic and political elites.

Politicians, legislators, aldermen, mayors, military police, businessmen, and religious leaders were indicted.

Agência Brasil

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