São Paulo Annals of Crime: “Crackdown on Hookerdom”

Subi a Rua Augusta a 120 por hora
Botei a turma toda do passeio pra fora
Fiz curva em duas rodas sem usar a buzina
Parei a quatro dedos da vitrine
Hi, hi, Johnny
Hi, hi, Alfredo
Quem é da nossa gang não tem medo
–Os Mutantes, “Rua Augusta”

Last Wednesday (March 27), commenting on statements by incoming federal Tourism minister, Marta Suplicy, that she would combat sexual tourism, Timóteo called the idea “flippant” and said that the idea of arresting foreign tourists who take 16-year-old girls to motels was “a joke.” In the middle of his speech, when questioned by city legislator Claudete Alves (PT), he asked his female colleague her age when she had her first sexual relations. —G1/Globo, March 29, 2007, on remarks by singer-alderman Agnaldo “The Romantic Voice of Brazil” Timóteo

Polícia fecha 8 casas noturnas suspeitas de prostituição em SP: “Police close 8 night clubs suspected of prostitution in São Paulo.”

The Estado de S. Paulo reports.

In October, the Estado had reported as follows:

Then essentially contradicted that claim by noting:

The department created a special unit to follow up on such crimes after they were written into the Penal Code in 2005. Before, only international trafficking in persons was recognized under national law, and the federal police was in charge of investigating it. Greater attention to the problem by São Paulo police is probably the principal explanation for the increase in [reported] victims. No children or adolescents figure in the DHPP’s statistics.

In other words, no one really knows what the actual incidence of the problem is, and the official statistics are of dubious validity.

São Paulo seems to be living through its own version of New York City’s Times Square makeover (although as I recall, Scores is still in business there, last I checked. A prominent financial technology executive lost his job after running a big tab there on the company credit card, as I recall.)

SÃO PAULO – Oito casas noturnas suspeitas de ser pontos de prostituição foram fechadas entre a noite de quinta-feira e a madrugada desta sexta-feira, 30, nas regiões central, leste e sul de São Paulo. A Operação Carrossel, do Grupo de Operações Especiais (GOE), teve como principal objetivo combater a prostituição infantil. Uma menina de 17 anos foi encontrada em uma das boates, na Rua Augusta, no centro.

Eight nightclubs suspected of being venues for prostitution were closed overnight in the dowtown, eastern, western and southern regions of São Paulo. Operation Carrossel, carried out by the Special Operations Group (GOE) [of the state judicial police], had as its principal objective to combat child prostitution. A 17-year-old girl was found in one of the nightclubs on the Rua Augusta, downtown.

Only one?

Was she hooking?

Not to be confused with COE, an elite unit of the the São Paulo military police.

Na maior operação contra prostituição já realizada em São Paulo, 17 casas noturnas, principalmente na região da Rua Augusta, seriam vistoriadas por 350 agentes. A maioria, no entanto, estava fechada. A polícia acredita que houve vazamento de informação sobre a blitz, apesar de os homens do GOE terem ficado sabendo da operação uma hora antes do início. O planejamento durou uma semana, segundo o delegado Luiz Antônio Pinheiro.

In the biggest operation ever against prostitution in São Paulo, 17 nightclubs, mainly in the Rua Augusta region, were searched by 350 agents. Most, however, were closed at the time. Police believe there was a leak of information about the “blitz,” even though the men of GOE only learned about the raid an hour before it started. The planning lasted a week, said police captain Pinheiro.

Na Rua Augusta, os policiais fecharam seis casas: Big Ben, Kilt, Maison, Vira Virou, Las Jegas e Castelão. Em uma delas havia uma menina de 17 anos. Os policiais também encontraram bebidas adulteradas e comida estragada em alguns estabelecimentos, além de uma conexão entre uma das casas e um mini-hotel.

On the Rua Augusta, the police shut down six clubs: Big Ben, Kilt, Maison, Vira Virou, Las Jergas and the Castelão. In one of them, a 17-year-old girl was found.

In which of them?

Was she hooking?

The police also found adulterated beverages and spoiled food in some establishments, as well as a connection betweeen one of the houses and a mini-hotel.

A noite estava animada no Connection Night Club, no Jardim Anália Franco, na zona leste, até a chegada dos agentes do GOE. No local, havia cerca de 300 pessoas, entre funcionários, clientes e garotas de programa. Seis casais usavam quartos do local, onde há uma ala com 45 suítes. Os policiais fecharam também o American Show, em Moema, na zona sul. A casa tem quartos, mas todos estavam fechados quando os agentes chegaram.

The night was rocking at the Connection Night Club in the Jardim Anália Franco, Eastern Zone, until the GOE showed up. There were some 300 persons at the scene, among employees, customers and prostitutes. Six couples were using rooms at the location, which has a wing with 45 suites. The police also closed American Show, in Moema, Southern Zone. The club has rooms, but all were closed when the police arrived.

Os casais que estavam em quartos das casas noturnas também foram levados às delegacias dos bairros. Os gerentes foram indiciados por favorecimento à prostituição e, o da boate em que havia a menina de 17 anos, também por aliciamento de menores.

The couples who were occupying the rooms in the nightclubs were also taken to the local precincts. The managers were charged with fomenting prostitution and, at the club where a 17-year-old girl was found, for [contributing to the delinquency of a minor.]

The story has mentioned the same 17-year-old girl three times without detailing her circumstances. Was she hooking? How do we know? Who was she? What was she doing there? Where was this, anyway? In which of the establishments named?

A Operação Carrossel é considerada uma extensão da Comissão Parlamentar de Inquérito (CPI) dos Direitos Humanos da Câmara Municipal de São Paulo. De acordo com os vereadores, há denúncias de que a falta de fiscalização permite que menores de idade trabalhem em boates. A CPI, presidida pelo vereador Paulo Fiorillo (PT), durou cerca de um ano.

Operation is considered an extension of a commission of inquiry into human rights by the city council.

Considered by whom?

According to local lawmakers, there are charges that the lack of inspections permits minors to work in clubs. The CPI, presided by Paulo Fiorillo (PT), lasted nearly a year.

Start date: February 8, 2007.

End date: November 4, 2007.

Duration: 9 months.

Report here (PDF).

On a notable incident during the proceedings, see

The largest crackdown on teenaged hookers in São Paulo history only turned up one teenaged hooker.

Call me a cab: I bet you I could produce more impressive results within the hour. Not that I would, mind you, and it might be risky: An indignant cabdriver with daughters might get angry with me. And I would not blame him, of course. The guys at our local ponto would never engage in that sort of thing. They are mensches.

Then again, I have met other cabdrivers who, seeing I was a gringo, offered to introduce me to their sister with the big tits. On a couple of occasions. I am not making this up.

From Section 7.1.4, “Sexual Exploitation of Minors in Houses of Prostitution”

Durante a reunião da CPI do dia 18 de outubro, foram recebidas denúncias de exploração sexual de adolescentes em casas de prostituição no bairro da Lapa, os membros da CPI decidiram, imediatamente, fazer duas diligências nos locais indicados. De acordo com as denúncias, nas referidas casas, onde há exploração sexual de mulheres, haveria também a presença de menores explorados sexualmente. Tivemos acesso aos panfletos de “divulgação” desses locais – cujo funcionamento é 24 horas – que são distribuídos a transeuntes, na rua, em plena luz do dia.

During the CPI meeting on October 18, charges were heard of sexual exploitation of adolescents in houses of prostitution in Lapa. The members of the commission immediately decided to inspect the locations personally. According to the charges, in said establishments, where women are sexually exploited for commercial purposes, there were also minors present, being exploited sexually. We had access to “advertising” pamphlets for this locations — which operate 24 hours a day — that are handed out to passersby on the street in the full light of day.

Lapa is in the Western District (so is our neighborhood).

As blitz foram anunciadas pela presidência desta CPI, que também convocou para acompanhar as vistorias, a Subprefeita da Lapa, Luiza Nagib Eluf e a Polícia Militar. No primeiro local, situado à rua Catão, encontramos um ambiente insalubre e escuro, onde estavam várias mulheres. Uma delas, uma menina, alegou ser maior de idade, mas apresentou como único documento uma carteirinha de estudante.

The blitz was announced by the president of the CPI, who also invited the subprefect of Lapa, Luiza Nagib Eluf, and the military police, to come along. At the first location, on Cato St., we found an unhealthy, dark environment where various women were present. One of them, a girl, said she was a minor, but the only document she presented was a student ID.

Encontramos, ao verificar um armário, vários materiais falsificados – CDs “piratas” de filmes pornográficos e de grupos musicais – provavelmente comercializados ali.

In checking a closet, we found various falsified products — “pirated” CDs of porno films and musical groups — which are probably sold there.

Outra casa, localizada na rua Nossa Senhora da Lapa, em que mulheres são sexualmente exploradas, foi vistoriada. Nela, apesar da não presença de adolescentes, foi constatado uso irregular do imóvel e deparamos com a arrogância da “responsável” pelo lugar, que nos interpelou com rispidez e ares de razão. As casas foram fechadas pela Subprefeitura da região, por funcionarem irregularmente e infringirem a lei cometendo o crime da exploração sexual de mulheres.

Another house, on Our Lady of Lapa Street, in which women are sexually exploited, was inspected. There, though no adolescents were present, we noted the irregular use of the property and encountered the arrogance of the person “in charge” of the place, who answered in haughty tones with an air of entitlement. The houses were closed by the Subprefecture for operating without a license and infringing the law against sexual exploitation of women.

Further down:

Pretendia esta relatoria traçar um mapeamento das áreas onde supostamente existe exploração da prostituição infantil na cidade de São Paulo. Tínhamos como base, locais onde o próprio poder público reconhece sua existência, como: o Autorama, no Parque do Ibirapuera; a Ceagesp e o chamado quadrilátero da Alameda Itu e Alameda Jaú, nos Jardins. Entretanto, as denúncias da existência de casas de prostituição na cidade de São Paulo, são centenas delas, que praticam exploração sexual, inclusive a infanto-juvenil, aliadas ao tráfico de crianças e adolescentes vindos principalmente de regiões do Nordeste do país, cujos surpreendentes números nos foram relatados pelo Instituto Partners of America, dão conta que a exploração sexual infanto-juvenil extrapola as expectativas tanto deste relator, quanto dos membros da presente CPI.

This reporter set out to map areas where chld prostitution allegedly takes place in São Paulo. We used as a base those areas where the public administration acknowledges its existence, such as: Autorama, in Ibirapuera Park; Ceagesp, and the so-called Alameda Itu-Alameda Jaú rectangle, in Jardins. However, charges of the existence of houses in São Paulo — hundreds of them — which practice sexual exploitation, including sexual exploitation of minors, allied with the trafficking of children and adolescents, mainly from the Northeast of Brazil, whose suprising extent were related to us by the Partners of America Institute, bear witness that child prostitution exceeds the expectations of this commission and its members.

Embora não comprovadas as denúncias de exploração sexual infanto-juvenil nas duas casas visitadas pela CPI, o fato é que a exploração do sexo é crime e tais casas de prostituição funcionam, por assim dizer, nas barbas do poder público, distribuindo panfletos pornográficos em calçadas, praças e avenidas da cidade. Tanto seu funcionamento, quanto suas propagandas são realizados livremente.

Although the charges of child prostitution were not proven at the two houses we inspected, the fact is that commercial exploitation of sex is a crime, and such houses function, as it were, under the noses of the public authorities, handing out pornographic pamphlets on the sidewalks, public squares and avenues of the city. The more business they do, the more advertisings they openly engage in.

Destarte, a exploração sexual de crianças e adolescentes em São Paulo é mais freqüente do que se imagina. Estes menores são expostos a situações vexatórias e constrangedoras, tendo seu sagrado direito à intimidade violado, quer seja por sua absoluta situação de miserabilidade e ignorância, quer seja por seus precoces dotes físicos.

First of all, the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents in São Paulo is more frequent than is imagined. These minors are exposed to embarrassing, stressful situations, having their sacred right to intimacy violated, whether because of their condition of absolute poverty and ignorance or because of precocious physical development.

A senhora Letícia Massula, coordenadora da região Sudeste do Programa de Assistência à Criança e Adolescentes Vitimas de tráfico para fins de exploração sexual – a Partners of América, depôs nesta CPI. A Partners of América é uma organização não governamental estadunidense, que já existe há 40 anos, dez deles trabalhando no Brasil. Mantém unidades nos municípios de São Paulo (onde conta com dois abrigos), Manaus, São Luiz, Natal, Fortaleza, Foz do Iguaçu, Rio Branco, Belém, Salvador, Recife e Rio de Janeiro.

Mrs. Massula, Southeast Coordinator for Partners of America’s assistance program for minors victimized by trafficking of persons for the purpose of sexual exploitation, testified to this CPI. POA is a U.S. NGO in existence for 40 years, with 10 years of work in Brazil. It maintains units in São Paulo (where it has two shelters), Manaus, São Luiz, Natal, Fortaleza, Foz de Iguaçu, Rio Branco, Belém, Salvador, Recife, and Rio de Janeiro.

If an NGO gets money from the government, how non-governmental is it, really?

Among its stated “partners”:

  • Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, Department of State
  • Forestry Support Group/US Forest Service
  • Inter-American Foundation
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • The Peace Corps
  • US Department of Education/National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research
  • US Agency for International Development
  • US Information Agency

Which is odd, because the USIA no longer exists. It went out of business in 1999 and was folded into the State Department.

Address to send checks to:

1424 K Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005

I hate to be cynical, but does K Street not have something of a reputation as a gabbling factoid factory?

A K-Street NGO says the problem is “more serious than imagined,” but the local CPI, with the help of the local police, is unable to actually find any verifiable cases.

The local police statistics on trafficking of persons do not register a single case of trafficking of minor persons.

A São Paulo journalist is assassinated, after publishing reporting that led to the conviction of rural politicians for running a child-prostitution ring.

Policemen have been arrested for his murder. See

And there is also the Lydia Cacho case in Mexico.

Hmmm.

O Partners of América aponta alguns locais em São Paulo focos de exploração sexual de crianças e adolescentes: Avenida Robert Kennedy, o Centro: Praça da República e a região da Rua Augusta, o Centro expandido: Vila Mariana, a zona Oeste: Pinheiros e a Baixada Santista. Há ainda denúncias de meninas que vêm de várias cidades do interior com destino a São Paulo.

The Partners of America point to certain spots in São Paulo as centers of the sexual exploitation of minors: Robert Kennedy Ave., downtown; the Praça da República and the Rua August, in the extended downtown area; the Vila Mariana, Western Zone; Pinheiros, and the Santos lowlans. There are also reports of girls coming from various cities in rural São Paulo to the capital.

The testimony on and backing for that information is not available in the final report, that I can see.

I would really like to have a look at the hard numbers, sourcing, and methodology behind those claims.

“Trust,” as Reagan said, “but verify.”

Not that I am at all skeptical that the problem exists, mind you.

Or that I am “soft on child prostitution.”

I do have nieces, you know.

But I really would not be any less inclined to lend a sympathetic ear to the plight of Brazilian “sex workers” of any age if the problem of child prostitution were discovered to be of less than mind-bendingly apocalyptic proportions.

“Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

Are there any reliable statistics on progress, or lack thereof, on this front?

The CPI cites the 2002 Pestraf study on trafficking of persons as “an old report, but the only one available.” Is that true?

The federal congress ran a CPMI — a bicameral commission of inquiry — on the subject in 2003 and 2004.

Did it not manage to produce any new data to go on?

A contemporary news report on that CPMI, from the Agência Brasil:

Brasília – O nome do vice-governador do Amazonas, Omar Aziz (PFL), será retirado do relatório da Comissão Parlamentar Mista de Inquérito (CPMI), que investiga redes de exploração sexual infanto-juvenil no país. A proposta para a retirada, aprovada nesta tarde por oito votos a sete, foi do senador Arthur Virgílio (PSDB-AM).

The name of the lieutenant governor of Amazonas, Omar Aziz (PFL) will be taken out of the report of the CPMI that is investigation networks of child prostitution in Brazil. The proposal to take the name out, approved by a vote of 8-7 today, was made by Arthur Virgílio (PSDB-AM).

Emocionada, a relatora da CPMI, deputada Maria do Rosário (PT-RS), diz que os parlamentares a favor da retirada do nome de Aziz do relatório fragilizaram a luta da comissão. “Confesso que fiquei preocupada com o resultado. Foi um desmerecimento do relatório”, afirma. A relatora acredita que a proposta do senador Arthur Virgílio tenha colocado em dúvida os trabalhos da comissão. “Eu sinceramente acho que ele questiona os critérios estabelecidos”, afirma. “Acreditaram no acusado e não na vítima”.

An emotional Maria do Rosário (PT-RS) told lawmakers who favored withdrawing his name that removing the reference to Aziz weakens the commission’s work. “I must confess this result concerns me. This undermines the report,” she says. The relatora of the commission believes Virgílio’s proposal cast doubt on the legitimacy of the commission. “I sincerely think he is calling into question the criteria agreed on,” she says. “They have given the accused, not the victim, the benefit of the doubt.”

… Omar Aziz surgiu nos depoimentos colhidos pela CPMI como um dos clientes do esquema de aliciamento de adolescentes mantido pela cafetina Darclei Cristina, em Manaus.

Aziz turned up in the testimony taken by the CPMI as a client of a scheme for prostituting minors run by the madame Darclei Cristina in Manaus.

Aziz has a neighborhood in that city named after him.

More impressive, of course, is the city named for General Curio — where the general is something of a mayor for life.

O senador Arthur Virgílio afirma ter convicção que defendeu um inocente. “Eu não preciso chorar para manter as minhas convicções. Tenho certeza que defendi um inocente”, afirmou.

Virgilio said he was convinced he defended an innocent man. “I do not need to shed any tears to maintain my convictions. I am certain I defended an innocent man,” he said.

According to another report, it was not Aziz who was involved with the bordello-owner, but rather his brother.

Ao todo, a CPMI sugere o indiciamento de 250 pessoas, entre políticos, médicos, juízes e religiosos por exploração sexual infanto-juvenil. O relatório será enviado ao presidente do Congresso Nacional, José Sarney, que deverá encaminhar as denúncias ao Ministério Público e autoridades competentes.

In all, the CPMI recommended the indictment of 250 persons, including politicians, physicians, judges and religious leaders, for child prostitution. The report will be sent to the president of the national congress, Sarney, who will then forward the charges to the public ministry and the competent authorities.

Remember when a federally funded study back in the States reported finding that child victims of sexual abuse might not suffer as much irreversible trauma as sometimes claimed?

Thsoe researchers were pilloried in the U.S. Congress for being “soft on child-fucking!”

Their funding threatened, their amoral science denounced as serving the cause of unspeakable immorality!

(“You, sir, are worse than Hitler,” says a DMV supervisor to Homer Simpson when he admits to smoking a cigarette in a public building. And slaps him.)

Which I found astonishing.

Surely this might be good news: That kids who suffer this kind of abuse have a better chance of not ending up psychologically crippled than we once thought.

Do we want them to end up psychologically crippled by their ordeal?

“We need more deeply crippled victims for our moral panic campaign!”

If we accept that this might actually be true, are we really giving aid and comfort to people who like to fuck children?

The study did not, after all, conclude that being sexually abused is good for children and other living creatures.

Let me see if I can find some of the newsflow on that moral crusade.

The question is, however: What are the precise dimensions of this problem?

How do we know?

Or do we know?

What are the impediments to knowing more?

That is, why can the authorities reportedly not identify any verifiable cases?

Or not many, at any rate.

There was this case in Rio:

There, the problem allegedly did not to come to light because policemen — and paramilitary militiamen — were both running and patronizing the scheme.

An election-season police show of efficiency turns out not to be not very efficient at all because a leak from inside the police may have tipped off the targets of the investigation.

Welcome to São Paulo.

Top comment on the Estadão report:

É isso aí, acabou o lazer da galera. Eu mesmo não vou sair hoje à noite pois não tem mais onde ir. Vou ter que ficar em casa assistindo super-cine. Puteiro é diversão sadia que alivia as pressões do dia-a-dia . Proibida devia ser putaria de brasilia..

That’s right, take away everybody’s fun. I myself am not going out tonight. There’s nowhere to go. I am going to have to stay at home watching the Million-Dollar Movie. Whorehouses are a healthy form of recreation that relieve those daily pressures. What ought to be outlawed is all the whoring going on in the federal capital.

Eu, hein?

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