It Ain’t Easy Being a Kid in Brazil

    
It Ain't Easy Being a Kid in Brazil

    One study from the University of Brasília shows that 69 percent
    of the victims of sexual abuse in
    Brazil are children. The work
    concluded that in a majority of cases the violence is done
    within the very
    home of the young person. The number of
    denunciations is insignificant with respect to the reality.

    by:

    Rogéria Araújo

     

    In Brazil, children represent a population of 50,266,176 inhabitants and statistics related to them are very depressing
    with respect to maltreatment, sexual exploitation and child labor, among other crimes.

    Last October 12, when Brazil celebrated Children’s Day, the country had moment to reflect on the numbers that
    illustrate how Brazil is treating its population of children. Exploitation and sexual abuse represent the major problem for children.

    The National System for the Combat of Abuse and Child Exploitation in Brasília, which can be reached by a
    national toll-free number (0800 99 0500), provides an annual X-ray of this type of violence committed daily against children.
    From February, 1997 to January, 2003, the system received a total of 2,937 denunciations; the Southeastern region had the
    most, 46 percent, and the Northeastern region came in second with 28 percent.

    The Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry that deals with sexual exploitation in Brazil began on June 12 and is
    working on 300 cases coming from Brazilian cities such as João Pessoa, Salvador, Natal, Porto Velho, Manaus and Rio Branco.
    Last week a public hearing took place in Foz do Iguaçu, where there are denunciations of child trafficking from here to
    Argentina and Paraguay.

    In this Triple Border area, according to a study by the International Labor Organization, there are approximately
    3,500 children and adolescents who are victims of sexual exploitation as workers in nightclubs.

    There is no lack of research on the subject. One study coordinated by Professor Eva Silveira Faleiros, of the
    University of Brasília, and with support from the federal government’s Special Secretary for Human Rights, shows that 69 percent
    of the victims of sexual abuse are children. The study considered 40 cases from the cities of Belém, Recife, Vitória,
    Goiânia and Porto Alegre.

    The study adds that only a third of the victims are not living with their aggressors; in a majority of cases the violence
    is done within the very home of the young person. Furthermore, 95.7 percent of those who sexually abuse are men and in
    the majority of cases (70.9 percent) women made the denunciations.

    According to the study’s coordinator, the number of denunciations is insignificant with respect to the reality and
    the insufficient attention given to the victims. The study is published in its entirety in the book
    Abuso Sexual Contra Crianças e Adolescentes e os (des) Caminhos da Denúncia
    (Abuse of Children and Adolescents_Bypassing the Denouncements).

    Created in 2002, the National Committee to Confront Sexual Violence against Children and Adolescents agrees that
    the installation of the toll-free number and the installation of the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry demonstrate
    genuine willingness to combat the problem.

    For the first time the Supreme Court of Justice opened a discussion on the theme and included new topics such as
    sexual trafficking, sexual tourism, internet pornography, and pedophilia, affirms Neide Casanha, the committee’s coordinator.

     

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

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