Tag Archives: Brazil

Carrier-Moisan, Marie-Eve. 2019. ‘“A Red Card against Sex Tourism”: Sex Panics, Public Emotions, and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil’. Feminist Formations 31 (2): 125–54.

This article examines the campaigns against sex tourism and sex trafficking that have emerged with the advent of several mega-sporting events in Brazil. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in Natal, one of the twelve host cities of the 2014 World Cup, it focuses on the appeal to emotions in mobilization against sex trafficking and sex tourism. Despite the recent turn to emotions in social sciences, including the role of emotions in politics, there is a dearth of study examining the intersections of emotions and moral panics. Yet expressions of disgust, anger, rage, or outrage commonly accompany moral panics issues. This article engages with how campaigns against sex tourism and sex trafficking associated with the 2014 World Cup materialize through emotional tropes iterated and reiterated in public spaces, or sex panics scripts. More specifically, this article identifies various scripts—the sexually innocent yet violated child, the bad gringo, and the enslaved woman—and points to what gives them their traction. Taken together, these emotional tropes are constitutive of an affective logic that both conflates justice with punishment and repression, and makes certain oppressive interventions and fraught alliances “feel right”—that is, publicly thinkable, possible, and acceptable.

Based on ethnographic data collected during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this article is interested to examine urban processes which reinvent the changing (sexual) landscape. Focusing on the way (host) cities shape sex work both imaginatively and physically, we explore the (lived) realities of neoliberal imaginaries that shape urban space. Often thought to exist in the urban shadow as an absent-presence in cosmopolitan processes, we demonstrate the manner in which sexualized and racialized women creatively resist the political and economic trajectories of neoliberal urbanism that seek to expropriate land and dispossess certain bodies. In the context of Rio de Janeiro—as in other host cities—this is particularly evident in the routine encounter between sexual minorities and local law enforcement. Mindful of the literature on state incursion into social-sexual life, we remain attentive to the everyday strategies through which those deemed sexually deviant and/or victim navigate local authorities in search of new opportunities for economic salvation in the midst of the sport mega-event.

This article focuses on sex work relations in the Mangue, one of Rio de Janeiro’s red light districts in the 1920s. It follows multiple simultaneous trajectories that converge in Rio’s changing urban landscape: League of Nation’s investigators (some of them undercover), local Brazilian authorities, particularly the police, and Fanny Galper, a former prostitute and madam. It argues that the spatial mobility of the persons involved in sex work is part of broader debates: On the one hand, these experiences of mobility are closely connected to the variegated attempts at surveillance of sex work that characterized Rio de Janeiro in the 1920s and the specific racialized organization of the women’s work as prostitutes. On the other hand, the actors analysed in this article also participated, in different ways, in the production of meanings in broader debates on the international circulation of policies intended to regulate and surveil prostitution. These encounters offer the opportunity to explore some of the intersections between this international circulation of policies, local social dynamics of European immigration, and the racialized history of labor relations in Brazil.

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In the run-up to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, the Brazilian government engaged in a militarized campaign to clean up favelas, blighted areas, and red-light districts so that it could “develop” them. Based on ethnographic work in Rio de Janeiro, London, and Cape Town, this article argues that there is a pattern in host cities of such events in which neoliberal agents, state forces, and nongovernmental organizations use discourses of feminism and human rights—especially unfounded fears about a link between sex trafficking and sports—to enact such changes regardless of the political economic conditions or systems of governance. By destroying safe and legal venues for sex work, these actors have created the very exploitation they purport to prevent. The article also links these actions to US foreign policy mandates and a broader shift in governmentality in Brazil predicated on performing a commitment to sexual diversity, including promoting gay rights and tourism, and advancing liberal notions of sexual progress that, in actuality, marginalize more vulnerable sexual populations.


Despite the significant emphasis given to the trafficking of Brazilians to the sex industry of the Iberian Peninsula, the concepts of “victim of trafficking for sexual exploitation” used in these three countries vary. This article analyses the positions of Brazil, Spain and Portugal regarding the conceptualisation of “trafficking victim,” focusing on their legislation and policies, as well as on relevant narratives which show how these policies are being applied. It showcases how the incompatible definitions being used compromise genuine anti-trafficking actions and may be an indicator that stopping trafficking may not be the primary concern of the policies developed by these governments.

Ana Paula da SilvaI; Thaddeus Gregory BlanchetteII; Andressa Raylane BentoIII  (2013): Cinderella deceived. Analyzing a Brazilian myth regarding trafficking in persons, Vibrant, Virtual Braz. Anthr. vol.10 no.2 Brasília July/Dec. 2013 


This article provides an overview of how trafficking in persons has come to be imagined in Brazil. We stipulate that a mythical narrative has become central to discourses about trafficking used to guide policy-makers and educate civil society. We perform a structural analysis of this myth arguing that its acceptance, combined with the persistence of laws that define trafficking solely as the migration of prostitutes, has shifted public discussion towards a paradigm of passivity and law enforcement where members of certain social categories must be “educated to understand that they are victims” and their movements must be curtailed.

Keywords: Trafficking in persons, prostitution, Brazil, myths



O presente artigo fornece uma visão geral de como o tráfico de pessoas tem sido imaginado no Brasil. Afirmamos que uma narrativa mítica tornou-se central para os discursos sobre o tráfico utilizados para orientar os agentes políticos e educar a sociedade civil. Realizamos uma análise estrutural desse mito, argumentando que a sua aceitação, combinada com a persistência de leis que definem o tráfico apenas como a migração de prostitutas, tem criado, na discussão pública, uma paradigma de passividade e de estrito legalismo, onde os membros de certas categorias sociais devem ser “educados para entenderem que são vítimas ” e seus movimentos devem ser reprimidos.

Palavras-chave: tráfico de pessoas, prostituição, Brasil, mitos

Danielle C. Ompad,, David L. Bell,, Silvia Amesty, Alan G. Nyitray, Mary Papenfuss, Eduardo Lazcano-Ponce, Luisa L. Villa, Anna R. Giuliano (2013): Men Who Purchase Sex, Who Are They? An Interurban Comparison, Journal of Urban Health May 2013.


Most research concerning clients of commercial sex workers (CSWs) relies upon CSW reports of client characteristics and behavior. We describe correlates of ever purchasing sex among 3,829 men from three cities: São Paulo, Brazil; Cuernavaca, Mexico; and Tampa, USA. A computer-assisted self-interview collected data on demographics and sexual behavior. There were significant site differences—26.5 % paid for sex in São Paulo, 10.4 % in Cuernavaca, and 4.9 % in Tampa. In all cities, men who had sex with men and women (versus sex with women only) were more likely to have ever paid for sex. In São Paulo and Cuernavaca, CSW clients were older, had higher educational attainment, and were less likely to be married. In Tampa, older age was associated with being a CSW client but not education and marital status. In São Paulo and Cuernavaca, CSW clients had more partners than men who had never paid for sex. In São Paulo, CSW clients initiated vaginal sex at an earlier age, while in Cuernavaca they were more likely to self-report a sexually transmitted infection. CSW clients varied with respect to demographics across the three cities while the association between paying for sex and risky sexual behavior seems to be somewhat conserved. These findings suggest that interventions among CSW clients should focus on condom use with commercial and non-commercial partners as these men may be at increased risk for transmitting and acquiring sexually transmitted infections to and from their sex partners. Better understanding of client characteristics is needed for targeting interventions and creating culturally appropriate content.

Erica L. Williams (2013): Sex work and exclusion in the tourist districts of Salvador, Brazil, in: Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geograph.


Salvador, capital of the state of Bahia, in the Northeastern region of Brazil, is composed of racialized, gendered, and sexualized spaces in which certain people are welcome, while others are marginalized and excluded. Praça da Sé, in the Centro Histórico, is a major site of both the local commercial sex industry and the tourist industry in Salvador. With their public visibility in sites heavily frequented by tourists, sex workers in Salvador reveal how sexuality is public, politically contested, economically charged, and, most significantly, racialized. If, as Tom Boellstorff argues, ‘globalization resignifies the meaning of place rather than making place irrelevant’ (2007, 23), how does one then study racialized sexualities in the context of the globalized tourism industry? How do class, space, and race influence practices of sex work and sex tourism in Salvador? This article offers a critical analysis of racialized sexualities in the study of the sexual economies of tourism in Salvador. I conceptualize Salvador as a ‘site of desire’ (Manderson and Jolly 1997) where issues of socioeconomic inequality, racism, and sexism coexist alongside celebratory affirmations of Afro-Brazilian cultural production in Salvador. This article explores how the touristic cityscape of Salvador is divided into carefully demarcated zones where class and race are crucial factors in determining who ‘belongs’ and who is ‘out of place.’ Read More

Dewey, Susan/Kelly, Patty: Policing Pleasure: Sex Work, Policy, and the State in Global Perspective, New York University Press 2011.

Mónica waits in the Anti-Venereal Medical Service of the Zona Galactica, the legal, state-run brothel where she works in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico. Surrounded by other sex workers, she clutches the Sanitary Control Cards that deem her registered with the city, disease-free, and able to work. On the other side of the world, Min stands singing karaoke with one of her regular clients, warily eyeing the door lest a raid by the anti-trafficking Public Security Bureau disrupt their evening by placing one or both of them in jail.
Whether in Mexico or China, sex work-related public policy varies considerably from one community to the next. A range of policies dictate what is permissible, many of them intending to keep sex workers themselves healthy and free from harm. Yet often, policies with particular goals end up having completely different consequences.
Policing Pleasure examines cross-cultural public policies related to sex work, bringing together ethnographic studies from around the world—from South Africa to India—to offer a nuanced critique of national and municipal approaches to regulating sex work. Contributors offer new theoretical and methodological perspectives that move beyond already well-established debates between “abolitionists” and “sex workers’ rights advocates” to document both the intention of public policies on sex work and their actual impact upon those who sell sex, those who buy sex, and public health more generally.