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 privacy policy

Young Leaders Lead Fight Against Sexual Exploitation

17-year-old Rayane (left) is part of Plan Internationalís Tourism and Protection of Childhood Project.
17-year-old Rayane (left) is part of Plan Internationalís Tourism and Protection of Childhood Project.
May 30, 2014

Seventeen-year-old Rayane of Brazil is on the front lines in the fight against sexual exploitation.

“It is sad to see teenagers or young people who have stopped living his or her life due to sexual exploitation, domestic violence, or drugs,” she said. “Young peoples’ dreams are ours too. When their dreams are interrupted, ours are too.”

Rayane is part of Plan International’s Tourism and Protection of Childhood Project, which has been developing ways to prevent sexual exploitation since 2011 by contributing to public policies and ensuring children are aware of their rights.

The project is now more pertinent than ever as Brazil is hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup from June 12 – July 13. Rayane has been taking her role seriously, visiting schools and cities outside her hometown of Pernambuco to educate young students about their rights, as well as encouraging them to stand up and say “no” to commercial sexual tourism and other forms of abuse and violation.

For Rayane, her age is her power and she firmly believes she has the ability to make an impact when it comes to changing the reality of children and teenagers in Brazil, who are often victims of sexual abuse and exploitation.

She certainly has the determination. Even though she has faced barriers, the young campaigner has vowed not to give up.

“There are many challenges, but the desire to fight and make people understand this problem is worth it,” she said. “If we hold our hands and we change our city [and] our state, who knows? In the future, we will have children, teenagers, and youngsters with a brand new face and a better future.”