Officially Jiselda Aparecida de Oliveira was a plastic artist, art dealer and the owner of Jiji Models, a modeling agency operating in downtown São Paulo. For the Brazilian federal police, however, she is Jiji, Brazil’s most powerful madam whose modeling agency was just a front for an international women trafficking gang.
This Thursday, December 14, the Brazilian authorities unleashed an operation called Aphrodite – the beauty, love and sex Greek goddess – in order to arrest seven people involved in the sex scheme, which supplied prostitutes to rich Brazilians as well as clients in the United States and European countries.
According to police chief Flávio Luiz Trivela, Oliveira, acted as madam for over 30 years and her book of models contained more than 1,000 prostitutes ready to travel anywhere in the world.
Jiji was one of those taken by the police who had seven warrants of arrest and 17 search and seizure warrants. All other people arrested were men: Rogério Aparecido Rodrigues, Walisbalde José dos Santos, Raimundo Marcos Pereira, Glauber Gonçalves Santos, Elisângela Olímpio dos Santos and Claudinei Luz.
They are being charged with gang formation, women trafficking, pimping, and helping to transport a person to practice prostitution. The sentences go from one to eight years of prison for each offense.
The operation relied on about 100 federal agents who made their arrests and seizures not only in the capital but also in Juquitiba and Santo André, both in the Greater São Paulo. In three apartments, which police said belonged to Jiji, they found appointment books, computer files and other material that would incriminate the gang.
The police also came across several paintings signed by Jiselda in her atelier at Amaral Gurgel street in downtown São Paulo. They suspect, however, that she paid other people to create the paintings.
The police investigation, which lasted six months, started after some anonymous tattling. Authorities found out that clients got in touch with Jiji through email in which they described what kind of woman they were looking for, including age and eye color. Apparently several girls were minors, but the police haven’t determined this yet.
Clients in turn would receive pictures of the girls so they could pick their choices. Some international programs with top-of-the-line beauties might cost as much as US$ 7,000 for one night. They were also marketed as escorts in packages to Europe with prices going from 500 to 1500 euros (from about US$ 700 to US$ 2,000) a day. US packages cost more: from US$ 2,000 to US$ 3,000 a day.
"You must be careful to not slander the modeling profession," said Trivela, "but there is a lot a prostitution in their midst. The women got from 30% to 50% of the money charged the client. And they were high level, very pretty."