This post comes from an article originally posted on news.com.au.
by Candace Sutton
Around a bend on one of Brazil’s longest highways, only a 50-minute
drive from Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic village, girls as young as nine are
selling their bodies to truck drivers for money.
Just a few miles from the glittering new stadiums where the world’s
elite athletes are gathering to battle it out for Olympic gold is a
shabby world of poverty, violence and child exploitation.
The BR-116 runs for 2800 miles between the World Cup stadium host
city Fortaleza in the far north of Brazil to Brazil’s largest city Sao
Paulo, where the Arena de Corinthians will stage Olympic soccer games in
The road is nicknamed the Highway of Death (Rodovia da Morte) for its
mortality rate due to many accidents and unstable weather and
conditions along the route.
But its real misery occurs at 262 truck stops along its way, where
female children are sold for sex, often by their own families, sometimes
as part of a town’s unofficial bartering system.
As more than 10,000 athletes and spectators fly in from around the
world for the $10 billion 2016 summer Olympics, local activists are
drawing attention to the reality of the young girls drawn into a life of
prostitution and drug addiction.
an organization established to stop the exploitation of at-risk girls
in towns along the BR-116, the real life stories are mind blowing.
When a Meninadanca team visited the remote town of Candido Sales,
which is bisected by the BR-116, they discovered that underage girls in
the town were regularly offered to men as prizes in raffles.
Trucks and heavy goods vehicles clog the road lined with bars and
brothels through the town, just miles away from the dirt brick homes
where Brazilian families live in poverty.
Sex trafficking gangs target the town and poor families are vulnerable to offers of money for their little girls.
But even the Meninadanca workers were surprised when a town council
psychologist told them raffles were held regularly with the winning
ticket holder’s prize being the right to abuse a particular girl being
The psychologist Gleyce Farias said “Candido Sales is a small town, but every day we hear of another girl who has been sold.
“I had to stop a mother from allowing her 12-year-old daughter to ‘marry’ a 60-year-old man, for money of course.
“Another 13-year-old girl ended up in hospital because of the abuses
she suffered. She told us how from the age of nine she was made to watch
pornographic films, and men would pay her to touch them.”
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