Sex Tourism in Brazil

Gringos (Portuguese slang for foreigners) still have strong stereotypes about Brazilian people. The three most common may still be: great footballers, samba dancers, and beautiful women. The average Brazilian is perceived as someone very attractive, easygoing, and who loves to party. In short: friendly people who mix everyday reality with joy.

This advertisement by Victoria’s Secret illustrates very well one stereotype about Brazilian women. Nonetheless, does it provoke sexual tourism ?

Tourism in Brazil is booming. However, it is hard to reap the benefits of tourism and avoid sex tourism.

In an article about the realities of sexual tourism in Rio de Janeiro, Chris Rogers, the adventurous BBC Reporter, states that “Brazil is overtaking Thailand as the main destination for sex tourism.” (Brazil’s sex tourism boom).

I was raised in Sao Paulo, which is the financial capital of Brazil and not a touristic destination. At least for Paulistanos (people born in the city of Sao Paulo) sexual tourism is not a hot topic. In fact, it was not either for any of the candidates during the presidential elections.

In Sao Paulo, unless you look for it, you don’t see sexual tourism or under aged prostitution. However, after hearing about the reality in Fortaleza, I felt obliged to write this post. According to friends, sex tourists are omnipresent in Fortaleza, one of those paradise-like beaches in the northeast of Brazil. They said it is common to see white/caucasian gringos in their 40s  walking around holding hands with underage Brazilians in the touristic old center of the city or in the beach. There is a touristic night club where people dance Forro (a local music) called Piratas, which is known for having “the best Monday party in the world.” There, they found the highest concentration of foreigners with underage Brazilians prostitutes. In Fortaleza, state capital with population of 3.4 million,  there is also a street full of prostitutes. Okay, no big deal, even in Paris you can find a street like that (near Stalingrad in case you are curious). But in the capital of the state of Ceara and 4th largest city in Brazil, virtually all the girls in the red light district are under 15.

I am confident that the government will do some sort of clean-up operation before the World Cup, since Fortaleza is a hosting city. Nonetheless, I wonder about what sustainable action could be taken to tackle sexual tourism and child prostitution.

Any ideas about how the government should fight against sexual tourism and child prostitution ? Comments welcome!

Published by Ricardo Geromel

Ricardo was born and raised in Brazil but also has Italian citizenship. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Fairleigh Dickinson University. This erratic blogger is a master candidate in Paris at ESCP-Europe, but presently in a gap semester. He speaks five languages and has worked as project manager for Bolloré Group in Guinea Conakry, West Africa and as agricultural commodities trader for Noble Group in Switzerland, Hong Kong, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil.

9 thoughts on “Sex Tourism in Brazil

  1. The best way to fight sex tourism is “Death Penalty”,
    Enter the country and get caught with an under age girl: Death Penalty.
    Enter the country with drugs: Death Penalty.

    It will make many “clowns” think more then twice before they go to Brazil.


  2. Can both explain why?

    People who go on vacation to have sex with little kids are sick people. Locking them up costs taxpayers money, though in the Brazilian jails they have indirect death penalties (good that Brazilians don’t waste so much money on jails) while here in the US, they have internet access. Strange world. Is that one of your sactions?
    Or is it..gosh, let’s just give them a warning and a fine.

    There is no way you can stop them at your borders. Most people who are against the death penalty (a scare tactic that makes them think and is a SERIOUS punishment for who don’t want to listen but till kill the soul of a child by paying them for sex) are idealogs. To bad the so called west is full of them.


  3. Tem uma solução… Isso esta a promoção social pelo o trabalhe que seja valorisante em primero lugar no estado do Ceara. dépois, proibidire todo contato com turistos é menors e pessoas que propois menors os turistos. presseguir os turistos mesmo fora do estado e do Brasil pelo o feite do tourismo sexual.


  4. I think stopping sex tourism and the commercial sexual exploitation of children will not be easy but it can be done. The focus needs to be on today’s young boys so that they don’t grow up into men who solicit prostitutes. By instituting curriculums in middle schools and high schools that promote equal treatment of women, demote the objectification of women and tell young boys the reality of the lives of prostitutes (that they are under the control of a pimp, they don’t get the money, etc), then we can hopefully raise a generation that will not stand for this.


  5. It is sad to see a country so full of potential being denigrated and reduced to sexual object. While I support personal freedom I despise seeing horde of tourists flocking in to take advantage of the poverty of Brazilian women. Why don’t they do that in their own fucking countries since they think they are so superior and have the best countries in the world? Like I said I am not a purist or stocked up religious puritan that the US is so full off.I support personal freedom.However let them do that in their own fucking countries.Brazil must change its image (especially the way carnival is advertize:no more naked dancing women) to discourage millions of perverts to flock in every year.Leave Brazilian women to Brazilian men.


  6. It’s not true about Fortaleza ok! I’m there right now (January 2014) and I didn’t see not a single hooker near the beach. Loads of regular girls but none speak anything other than Portuguese. It’s a beautiful city and much cheaper than Rio, but not as pretty. I guarantee you that in Beach area you will not run into prostitutes even if you tried.


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