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Plan International Works With Teens to Enact Change, Curb Sexual Exploitation in Brazil

Young people take part in Tourism and Child Protection Communication Workshop in Brazil.
Young people take part in Tourism and Child Protection Communication Workshop in Brazil.
May 30, 2014
Plan works to ensure local youth benefit from the World Cup.

With the 2014 FIFA World Cup around the corner, 80 high-school students in Brazil are working with Plan International to end forced prostitution and increase child protection as “agents of change.”

These courageous youths have been trained through a program developed by Plan International alongside a host of partners, including TUI Nederland and Childhood Brazil. The project, “Say a collective no to child sex tourism in the northeast of Brazil,” was set up in 2010.

Through classroom presentations and interaction with their families and neighbors, they spread the message that being raped and forced into prostitution is not acceptable.

The government is preparing for 2014’s influx of visitors by improving its stadiums and public transportation services, but it needs all the help it can get to fight the booming sex tourism trade that exploits child prostitutes and is expected to be fueled by sports fans.

Currently, sexual exploitation is a serious problem in the country.

In this northeastern region of Brazil, where the levels of poverty are among the highest in the country, young boys and girls, age 15 and up, wait for clients on the streets and in bars.

Those too young for the bars are controlled by taxi drivers, hotel workers, and drug dealers.

One of the project’s ultimate goals is to help local youth benefit from the World Cup instead of just reaping the consequences.

When the 30 days of the tournament are over and the stadiums are silent, Plan hopes to use the empty Arena das Dunas in Natal as a job training center that will offer vocational training. Sixty percent of these youths will be young girls, who could otherwise be forced into prostitution to survive.

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