Human trafficking for sexual ends is something most people know little about. Even professionals who work in sensitive areas like tourism have a distorted view of the problem.
This is one of the conclusions of the "National Study on the Trafficking of Women, Children, and Adolescents (Pestraf)," issued Thursday, January 26.
Nevertheless, the data indicate that things have changed for the better in the degree to which people who work in the area of tourism are aware of the problem.
The purpose of the study is to bolster the activities of the Program for the Enhancement of Strategies to Confront the Trafficking of Women, Children, and Adolescents in Brazil, a partnership between the federal government and the International Labor Organization (ILO).
The government is represented by the Ministry of Justice, the national Secretariats of Justice and Public Safety, and the Special Secretariat for Women’s Policies.
According to the coordinator of the program, Márcia Cristini, the program in the Northeast Brazilian state of Ceará is being implemented by the Curumins Association, a non-governmental organization (NGO) responsible for the first major campaign in the entire Northeast against sexual tourism, last year.
The interviews in Ceará covered 50 tourists, both foreign and Brazilian, and 50 professionals, including taxi drivers, hotel receptionists, beach concession operators, street vendors, and craftspeople.
One of the questions was meant to discover how they perceive Brazilians who seek work abroad. Prior to the campaign, none of them associated emigration with recruitment and trafficking for sexual ends.
Subsequent to the campaign, 23% of those interviewed identified this practice as the motive for traveling abroad. The percentage of tourism professionals who had never received information on this topic dropped from 14% to 6%.
The survey also revealed that, for the majority, sexual tourists come mainly from Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Spain, which coincides with the list of countries where most of the visitors to Ceará are from, according to data from the state Department of Tourism.
Cristini recalled that of the 321 routes used for the trafficking of women, children, and adolescents, only 131 are international. The other 190 are located within Brazilian territory. Thus the need to step up surveillance not only in the airports, when flights arrive and depart, but along the highways as well.
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