Campaign for the Eradication of Sex Tourism and Sexual Exploitation, during the 2016 Olympic Games
LETTER TO MICHEL TEMER, ACTING PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL
HER EXCELLENCY MICHEL TEMER ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERATIVE REPUBLIC OF BRAZIL
It is with great respect that we address you as the President of the sixth largest economy in the world. As you know, over 6 million tourists attended the 2014 World Cup and it is expected that the same number will travel to Brazil for the 2016 Olympic Games.
While the majority of tourists enjoy your country’s beauty, attractions and beaches, statistics from Brazil’s own Ministry of Tourism indicate that a significant amount of people travel to Brazil for sex tourism — often for child sex tourism. While attending these types of big sporting events, tourists will also exploit women, children and adolescents in the sex trade.
International organizations highlight that Brazil has the highest rate of sex tourism among countries in Latin American and the Caribbean. We acknowledge and commend that your government has taken measures to prevent trafficking and sexual exploitation in Brazil, provided funds to assist victims and developed media campaigns to raise awareness about this issue.
However, we respectfully suggest that your government continue strengthening efforts to prevent, eradicate and sanction sex tourism in Brazil. Brazilian law defines trafficking based on movement, contrary to the principles established by the UN Palermo Protocol, which was ratified by Brazil. The Brazilian government should make a commitment to penalize those participating in the sexual exploitation of human beings, including sex tourism.
According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), the business of sex tourism is part of a wider context that is more complex than the simple interaction between individuals procuring and offering sexual services:
“The business of Sex Tourism […] counts on the direct and indirect involvement of taxi drivers; hotel, bar and restaurant staff; local entrepreneurs; and even organized crime groups linked to trafficking of women and children…”
Therefore, with approximately 500,000 children reportedly sold for sex, Brazil is poised to become the country with the highest rate of children in situations of sexual exploitation in the world. During the last World Cup, it was documented that sexual services were sold outside stadiums with girls no older than 10 years old for only 6 reais.
There is a clear contradiction between current legislation, which criminalizes pimping, and the recognition of prostitution as a legitimate profession.
Since 2002, the Ministry of Labor and Employment of Brazil has included prostitution in the Brazilian Classification of Jobs (CBO) for any person over 18 years old. Therefore, categories 5198 and 5198-05 of the CBO are in clear violation of Article 6 of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Woman (CEDAW), which was also ratified by Brazil.
Moreover, the average education level suggested by the Ministry of Labor in Brazil is between 4 and 7 of basic education for people involved in prostitution. This is a very low educational level, which indicates that prostitution impacts the poorest sections of society that lack opportunities and suffer social exclusion.
Inequality, poverty, discrimination and gender-based violence are among the factors that encourage the growth of the sex trade and the sale of thousands of women and girls in Brazil. In broad daylight, tourists go to the beaches expecting to buy sex.
All these factors combined form the basis for the alarming increase in trafficking and sexual exploitation, both at the national and international levels.
There are clear links between the increase in demand, the growing sexual exploitation of women, children and adolescents in the sex trade, the legalization of prostitution and the occurrence of big sporting events, not only in Brazil. This phenomenon has also been documented in Germany, South Africa, the United States and other countries around the world. Pimps and traffickers connect clients — the demand — with vulnerable human beings, especially women, children and adolescents.
We recognize the headway Brazil has made in the Human Development Index (HID) over the past few years, but allowing the buying and selling of human beings, more specifically of women, children and adolescents, in the sex industry is not in compliance with the international commitments Brazil has made.
We know that your government has shown great determination and political will to ensure gender equality and guarantee the human rights of women and children, but, in regards to this specific issue, additional actions and a greater consistency between the law and public policies are still needed.
Your Excellency, we respectfully call on you, as President of one of the most beloved countries in the world, to take into consideration the aforementioned situation in Brazil and implement definitive measures because:
- Sex tourism is a crime. In Brazil, like in other countries, sex tourism should be a crime punishable by imprisonment.
- The bodies and lives of women and girls are not commodities. The purchase of a woman or a girl for prostitution violates her human rights.
- Without demand, there is no supply. The sexual exploitation of women, children and adolescents exists because there are men willing to pay for sex. As in any market, without demand, there is no supply.
- To live free from sexual exploitation is a human right. Prostitution is not an option for the vast majority of women involved in it. Instead, as a consequence of poverty and lack of opportunities, it is their only form of Prostitution perpetuates the stereotype that women’s and girls’ bodies exist to serve the sexual pleasures of men.
WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, DEMAND THAT:
- The countries participating in the 2016 Olympic Games that have ratified conventions and/or international protocols against trafficking in persons, especially women and girls, assume an official position against sex tourism which develops and increases during sporting events.
- The International Olympic Committee, its president, board of directors, national committees, trainers and technical bodies promote “fair play” in sporting events free from sex tourism
- The athletes from national teams who will participate in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro commit to not using women in prostitution. These athletes are role models for teenagers and young adults and their actions influence young people’s social behavior.
- Travel agencies in Brazil and all over the world promote ethical tourism that is free from violence against women and girls.
- The general public commit to rejecting complicity in the sexual exploitation of women and girls, both legally and culturally, by not accepting the idea that prostitution is “work.”
- The government of Brazil respect the international treaties to abolish all contemporary forms of slavery, including trafficking and sexual exploitation, especially of women, girls and adolescents, Brazil has ratified by designing and implementing a policy against sex tourism.
SIGN AND SAY NO TO SEX TOURISM AND SEXUAL EXPLOITATION!
SAY NO TO SEX TOURISM DURING THE 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES!