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Brazil, the fatherland of football and samba. The country of “joy”, carnival, and of immense sunny beaches. The number one destination for those who dream of changing their lifestyle. Besides, Brazil’s economy is developing. With the (past) World Cups and the (future) Olympics, the South American State tries to sell an image of itself, that is different from the one everyone knew some time ago. A commercial transaction that cannot conceal, in any case, social conflicts, poverty, and hunger. And that tells terrible stories, unthinkable for those who live in this part of the world. Stories of a childhood that is stolen, trampled on, and often interrupted by a gunshot. The last news arrives from Encruzilhada, a small municipality in the district of Bahia, one of the most popular tourist areas in Brazil, with 50 km of beaches and the wildlife oasis for sea turtles. Those natural beauties alternate, with fierce simplicity, human misery in the small center, located in the hinterland. Here a man, for only five euros, can buy a lottery ticket that, in case of victory, allows him to sexually abuse a child whose age can be as small as 10 or 11 years. A slap in the face of humanity, rights to childhood, and of any achievement made from prehistory to present times. The crime was denounced by the humanitarian organization “Meninadanca” (literally “dance, girl”), which is present also on the territory of England.

“Those cases are shocking, but unfortunately they do not surprise anyone in this area, and nobody does anything about it” , told the founder of the Onlus, Matt Roper, in an interview with Ansa.  The NGO works with girls in risky conditions, that live in poor communities along the Br-116, the longest and the most trafficked highway in Brazil. Apparently, local police is already investigating on this story, after the involvement of the lawyer Michael Farias, director of the defense core of children and adolescents of the state University of the south-east of Bahia (Uesb). But the volunteers are convinced that the sexual exploitation of minors occurs above board, often even with the tacit consent of the forces of order themselves. The “lottery girls” seem to be famous to the point that many pedophiles arrive from distant cities. Participants buy a ticket for 30 reais (little more than eight euros) to try their chances and win the “prize”: a girl (but it can be also a boy) whom they are free to harass. The bets are supposedly organized by drug dealers who, in order to increase their revenues, raffle “chaste minors”.

A story that, unfortunately, confirms the alarm concerning children’s conditions in Brazil. Suffice it to say that about 80% of the recorded homicides concern adolescents and young people between 14 and 24 years, especially in the peripheries of cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza, and San Paolo. Another drama is that of prostitution. According to a report issued in 2010 by BBC, the South-American nation, from this point of view, outdoes even Thailand. This is the reason why Ecpat (an Onlus for the defence of children’s rights) on the occasion of the last-year World Cup, launched the Campaign #DontLookAway. Visitors were invited to be responsible. Tourist areas are, in fact, the most affected by this phenomenon. Among the most assiduous customers seem to be Italians, Portuguese, and Germans. A shame inside another shame. Then, Europeans claim to have civility lessons to teach to the others…

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