Campaign against the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents launched during the World Cup in Brazil

On May 26th, Promundo launched the campaign “It’s not ‘just having fun’, it’s sexual exploitation of children and adolescents,” which aims to raise awareness and prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents (CSECA) during the World Cup in Brazil. Launched during a seminar on this topic, in Firjan, Rio de Janeiro, the event was attended by the minister of the National Human Rights Office, Ideli Salvatti, as well as by representatives of national companies and non-governmental organizations.

The communications campaign will be present in all 16 World Cup host cities (Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Salvador, Fortaleza, Natal, Brasília, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte, Manaus, São Luiz, João Pessoa, Maceió, Vitória, Goiânia, Florianópolis and Recife). According to the National Human Rights Office, five of these cities – Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Salvador, Fortaleza and Natal – lead the national ranking of CSECA.

During the event, the minister of the National Human Rights Office recalled the progress that had been made in combatting sexual exploitation of children and adolescents in Brazil, singling out the approval by the Chamber of Deputies of the classification of CSECA as a heinous crime and the ordinance that impedes foreigners convicted of pedophilia from entering Brazil.

“There is plenty of questioning around the World Cup. People want a legacy of concrete, iron and steel, but the most important legacy is this articulation between state, federal and municipal governments,” Ideli Salvatti said.

The former football player Jorginho, who was the right-back of the 1994 World Champion Brazilian national team and currently coaches Al Wasl in the United Arab Emirates, participated in campaign videos that are circulating on TV and throughout various social media networks. The campaign also includes dedicated social media channels and a website, in addition to posters and flyers that are being distributed in bars, restaurants and tourist hot spots around Brazil. Promundo has printed 120,000 copies of the “Guide for Responsible Fans,” which includes an exclusive interview with Jorginho about CSECA, information on the commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents and how to prevent and report it, a game schedule, and useful tips for tourists on how to take advantage of the World Cup while respecting the rights of children and adolescents. The guides are being distributed during World Cup games, near the stadiums and airports. In Rio de Janeiro, campaign posters will be put in the subway and in the Cinelêndia station.

The campaign messages were inspired by research conducted by Promundo, which points out that some situations of sexual exploitation of children and adolescents are not recognized as a crime by certain segments of the population.

“The campaign takes stock of some of the myths associated with masculinity, which, for instance, make men believe that they are in fact helping children when they have paid sex with them. Also, it is based on the findings of our research that suggest that often the way many men perceive their roles in society reinforces sexual exploitation. Many don’t see this as a crime,” explained Vanessa Fonseca, program coordinator at Promundo.

The research:

Data from the study “Men, Women and Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents in Four Brazilian Cities”:

  • 14% of the people interviewed said that they had had sex with someone under 18 years old.
  • Almost half of all men surveyed said they had had sex with girls between the ages of 12 and to 17, and that this was motivated by the desire to feel younger.
  • The percentage of men that claim they have friends who have had sex with adolescents is more than the double the percentage of men who affirm in the study that they themselves have had sex with adolescents.
  • Children and adolescents are the ones often held accountable for commercial sexual exploitation and their behavior is morally condemned: 41% of the men surveyed in Rio de Janeiro and 46% of the women considered the act “adolescent prostitution” rather than sexual exploitation.
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