Concerned about Rio’s image as a major sex tourism destination and the crime that surrounds prostitution, city prosecutors are launching a campaign against sexual exploitation and the use of minors in the sex trade.
Seeking to crack down on an epidemic of child prostitution, the Brazilian government in collaboration with rights group is targeting Carnival, the annual pre-Lenten festival during which the illicit trade reaches its zenith.
The authorities are featuring television, radio spots including hoardings in the airports of Carnival hot spots like Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Recife.
The International Labour Organization is of the view that there must be 2.5 million Brazilian children working, in prostitution, drug running, street peddling, domestic and farm Labor. It also pointed out that most of the abusive cases go unreported.
After Thailand, Brazil has the second-largest number of underage prostitutes in the world, that is, about 500,000.
In spite of the financial growth, the country is experiencing widespread joblessness and crushing dispossession, which has given way to child prostitution. In a country of 184 million people, nearly 40, million are residing in extreme poverty.
Despite such inroads, activists working to end child prostitution agree that they have a long way to go.