World Cup 2014: Children at risk as sex gangs seek trade at Brazilian football stadiums

Minors are being forced into prostitution as authorities turn a blind eye

Girls as young as 11 are reportedly being targeted by human traffickers forcing them to work as prostitutes during the World Cup in Brazil.

Gangs are recruiting under-age sex workers to tempt foreign visitors watching the football tournament, The Times reported.

It is thought that around half a million minors – many from poor and rural areas - sell their bodies in the country. Many girls are pimped out by relatives to lorry drivers on the notorious 2,800 mile-long BR-116 highway.

But activists have warned that instances of this form of child abuse have reached epidemic levels because authorities consistently fail to product the children involved.

According to a study by a parliamentary commission of inquiry in Sao Paulo, there has been an increase in child prostitution and sex abuse in the vicinity of the Corinthians stadium, which will host the World Cup opening ceremony on 12 June.

And additional reports suggest that girls are being placed around other sporting arenas, including the Maracana stadium in Rio.

Matt Roper, who runs the Menina Danca charity, which helps victims in the town of Medina off the BR-116, told The Times there is “a real culture of silence” surrounding the issue.

“Mothers of family members have no problem taking their daughters to a roadside brothel,” Mr Roper said.

“It’s just seen as completely normal.”

Girls are sold for as little as £10 and drugs are rife, with violence often erupting between rival gangs.

The Menina Danca house provides a refuge to help girls escape from a downward spiral of abuse and drug use. But Mr Roper, who has so far helped around 60 girls in Medina, faces a long uphill battle.

One girl told the Sao Paulo inquiry that she had fallen pregnant after being harassed by a stadium worker until she agreed to his advances.

“After a while he said he would take me. My father did not care much.

“It seems that for him it was good, because it was one less mouth  to feed, but not for me.”

The darker side of Brazil has frequently been highlighted in the lead-up to the World Cup. Earlier this month, Sao Paulo police issued guidance to tourists, advising them “not to react” if they are mugged during the football tournament, at the risk of losing their lives.

Read more: Fears grow over Sao Paulo stadium being ready
Police advise tourists not to confront robbers
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
Evidence collected by academics suggests that people find the right work-life balance at 58-years-old, towards the end of their working lives
news
Arts and Entertainment
Actor Ezra Miller who stars in the film 'Perks of Being a Wallflower' poses for a portrait session during the 39th Ghent Film Festival on October 18, 2012 in Ghent, Belgium.
arts + ents
Voices
Ukip leader Nigel Farage arrives at the Rochester by-election count
voicesIs it any wonder that Thornberry, Miliband, and Cameron have no idea about ordinary everyday life?
Sport
sportComment: Win or lose Hamilton represents the best of Britain
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsene Wenger reacts during Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Swansea
footballMan United and Arsenal meet on Saturday with both clubs this time languishing outside the top four
News
i100BBC political editor Nick Robinson had a lot of explaining to do
News
A girl plays on a Sony 'PS Vita' portable games console
news
Life and Style
Nappies could have advice on them to encourage mothers and fathers to talk to their babies more often
newsTalking to babies can improve their language and vocabulary skills
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Trainee Sales Account Manager...

Recruitment Genius: Client Services Account Co-ordinator

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines