Natal Brazil

Information about the city of Natal, in Brazil.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Spanish newspaper writes about sex tourism in Natal

Important Spanish newspaper Elmundo published on September 17th 2006 an article describing the troubles that some Spanish tourists faced in Natal when they engaged in paid sexual encounters.
The article was mentioned by newspapers in Natal and had repercussion among authorities and population in the city; the full original text in Spanish is here.

The article tells how three Spanish citizens arranged to have a sexual encounter with five prostitutes they picket in Ponta Negra beach; it turned out that three of the prostitutes were shemales, and some of them were underage. The clientes were blackmailed (they suspect that the taxi drivers and hotel owners may have been part of the scheme) and had to pay a hefty amount to avoid facing the Police. Elmundo goes on to say that Natal is the most selected euro-bordel in Brazil.

The report sounds a bit biased. Below, some facts of interest.
  • The legislation: prostitution is not illegal in Brazil; it is not fully regulated, as it is in Holland or Germany, but it is not illegal. Prostitutes are not criminals, so they don't have to hide from the police, nor do they need pimps (pimping is a crime; running a place for prostitution purposes is a crime; incitement to prostitution is a crime; profiting from prostitution is a crime).
  • Because there is much poverty in Natal, and because many people are willing to pay for sex, many women resort to prostitution. Tourism grew quickly in Natal, and attracted many sex workers, including many from other States. Public prostitution in Natal concentrates in a short stretch of Ponta Negra beach, which gives high visibility to the prostitutes.
  • Despite prostitution not being a crime, there is in Brazil an specific Statute for Children and Adolescents; according to this Statute, acts like offering alcohol to minors, bringing them to places not appropriate for minors (sex hotels), enticing them into some activities, etc are considered crimes, and are very severely watched and punished (the age of consenting sex in Brazil is 14 y.o.; having an affair with people under 18 y.o. is not, per se, a crime; crime is configured only when there is some enticement to prostitution)
  • The city of Natal does not endorse sexual tourism. Natal was the first city in Brazil to formally create a committee to combat this kind of visitors. The reach of this committee, though, is limited, because prostitution is not illegal. A few months ago, city and State conducted raids aiming to specifically shut down places favoring prostitution.

    Many foreign visitors come to Natal and, besides enjoying the city, have sexual encounters with professionals. Just like it happens, with much higher frequency, in Barcelona, Amsterdam and Hamburg, to name a few European sex hubs.
    The absolute majority of these encounters are just an agreement between two consenting adults acting within the boundaries of law.

    A few foreigns, probably relying on the proverbial leniency of Brazilian laws, Police and Justice, take the risk to get involved in acts which are clearly known to be illegal. That's the case, for instance, of people looking for sex with minors, or people looking to buy illegal drugs.
    In these cases, there is a much higher probability of having to deal with dishonest people. Cases of blackmailing or robbering are much more common. The bandits and victims know that everyone are acting in an out of the law manner, and are less prone to look for Police help.

    It looks like this was the case with the three Spanish tourists interviewed by Elmundo. The Spaniards knew what they were doing. Spotting an underage is not difficult, and spotting an transsexual is even less. In case of doubts about age, everyone is alerted to ask for IDs, that every Brazilian must carry.
    Instead of asking for Police help, the Spanish resorted to Elmundo. And it looks like Elmundo wrote their article without checking all facts thoroughly.

  • 1 Comments:

    Blogger 123 said...

    I know Natal for more than 14 years.
    Everytime there was a poverty there. But in the last 7 years the international (european) tourism grew so fast, that it' s really strange to see what happened there. The number of prostitutes grew only with the number of europeans who want that. Many of the prostitutes are from other states of Brazil.
    The natives of Natal don't have any profit of this progession.
    But the crimes and the problems with drugs also grew up with the number of european tourists.
    Hanns from Germany (married with a woman from Natal)

    6:14 AM  

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