Women for Sale. Made in Brazil.

Women for Sale. Made in Brazil.

    Human trafficking is the utter objectification of human beings.
    Brazilians are preferred in Spain,
    Italy, and Switzerland; Germans,
    however, prefer Venezuelans. Women are transformed into
    identifiable object, like a brand of beer, which
    can be chosen according to the tastes of the customer.


    According to the United Nations, human trafficking on a global scale has reached an annual rate of four million. In
    the midst of this announcement is a scandalous reality: Brazil is one of the largest supplying countries in the world for
    international human trafficking.

    According to the U.S. State Department, the number is closer to 900,000 people annually. Both the US State
    Department and the UN agree, however, that human trafficking is an extremely lucrative activity, generating more than 12 billion
    dollars annually. Moreover, both admit that the majority of persons trafficked are women and girls.

    There is one constant factor in a map of this sort of commerce: the people trafficked are provided by poor regions
    and taken to rich regions. If that transportation is completed with one country it is known as "internal traffic."

    The Brazilian Center of Studies, Reference and Action of Children and Adolescents (CECRIA), a
    non-governmental organization tied to the University of Brasília, led an investigation last year about the traffic of persons in Brazil. The
    study, using accusations made to the police, found more than 200 internal routes of traffic, principally of girls and young women.

    These persons, used in the prostitution industry, are taken to the capital city in their native states or to the
    "Marvelous South" where there is more money and larger market for prostitution.

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    A month ago, a Civil Police Office in São Paulo state arrested a Brazilian woman and two Koreans that were
    soliciting girls to work as prostitutes in Korea. These individuals, captured because of an accusation made by one of the mothers
    of the young girls, administered passports, travel money and promised the girls earning of 90 dollars for each job they
    complete in the Asian country.

    The tactic used by these Koreans is the same as that used by other traffickers. They provide passports and money
    for the women, which must be returned when they arrive to the country of destination.

    Some of these teens travel thinking that they will work as dancers, nannies or even prostitutes, but not as white
    slaves. The hell of these young people begins as soon as they arrive in the country with no money, no documents, and unable to
    speak the local language. If they are black or mulatto, the situation is even worse because of the preconceptions that they are
    "exotic women."

    Human trafficking is the utter objectification of human beings. For example, Brazilians are preferred in Spain, Italy,
    and Switzerland; Germans, however, prefer Venezuelans. Thus, women are transformed into an identifiable object, like a
    brand of beer, which can be chosen according to the tastes of the customer.

    Public Politics

    The government recognizes that nearly 20,000 Brazilian women live in Spain, and that 10,000 of them are in the city
    of Bilbao alone. The UN defines human trafficking as the third most profitable illicit activity, following only traffic in
    weapons and drugs, respectively.

    However, the US State Department recognized, in an international conference that took place last February in
    Washington, that if human trafficking continues at its current pace, in just four or five years it will be the most lucrative illicit
    activity in the world.

    A European "intermediary" in human trafficking affirmed in 2002, in a document obtained by the Union of
    Women’s Religious Congregations in the Catholic Church, that "women are more lucrative than drugs or weapons. These things
    you can only sell once, while a woman can be resold until she dies of AIDS, goes crazy or is killed…"

    The struggle against human trafficking demands bold steps on the part of the state. Moreover, the role of civil
    society has been underemployed, though diverse organization for years have debated and denounced the problem. The Minister
    of Justice, Federal Police, State Police, Human Rights Commissions and the State need to commit themselves to
    eliminating the shameful blemish that has fallen over the country—that we are the leader in Latin America in the "exportation" of
    girls and women for prostitution in the First World.

    The duty to confront this terrible commerce is a Human Rights’ duty. This is so because the inalienable rights of
    human beings are so utterly violated when she is transformed—pure and simply—into an object of consumption for the
    pleasure of others.

    Comments may be sent to Adital (Agência de Informação Frei Tito para a América Latina—Friar Tito Information
    Agency for Latin America) adital@adital.org.br

    Translated by Ann Schneider


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