Brazil’s Street Children - Launch of It’s a Penalty campaign

A BLOG POST BY LOUISE MEINCKE FOR STREET CHILDREN 1506600_302129623284163_242666509_n

The preparations for the World Cup in Brazil are gathering momentum, and a lot of media attention has been paid to the riots and demonstrations. However, a recent Sky News documentary uncovered a hidden side to the preparations for the World Cup – that children as young as 12 are being sold for as little as 80p and are at serious risk of sex tourism during the World Cup.

Shocking footage from the documentary reveals how children, both girls and boys, are taking to the street due to poverty, drugs and dysfunctional families, where they are extremely vulnerable to sexual abuse, exploitation and prostitution. The World Cup will be held in Brazil during June and July 2014. Police authorities are concerned that young girls in Brazilian cities will be trafficked and girls as young as 11 will be groomed for prostitution and offered to football fans and tourists.

In a bid to tackle this sexual exploitation and abuse of children, Happy Child International (a Consortium for Street Children member) launched the campaign IT'S A PENALTY, which aims to raise awareness amongst football fans and those travelling to Brazil for the World Cup that if they engage in sexual exploitation with a child aged 17 and under they could face prosecution both in Brazil, and their home country.

IT’S A PENALTY is led by Happy Child International, Jubilee Campaign and The A21 Campaign, working in conjunction with the National Crime Agency whose CEOP command leads on tackling travelling child sexual offenders in the UK.

The campaign has high-profile support from footballers and the Prime Minister, David Cameron. You can see the campaign film and learn more about the campaign on or

Louise Meincke

Advocacy Director

Consortium for Street Children


Rose's Story

Rose was forced to sell herself for sex on the main streets of Recife, a city in poorer north east Brazil, late at night outside a motel with a group of other very young girls dressed up to look older than they were. Rose was 11 years old when her mother sent her to the streets to beg for money because there was no food at home in the favela where they lived. On the streets Rose, like other street children, was vulnerable to the pimps and soon became a victim of the child sex trade. Her clients came from Europe, America and Africa as well as from Brazil. By the age of 16 she had given birth to two babies who she had given to her mother to look after in the favela. Rose had to keep on ‘working’ to provide money for her family. She had lost all sense of self-worth. As night fell her pimp expected her to sleep with as many clients as possible to make as much money for him as possible. Rose was a silent voice in a world that couldn’t hear her cry for help. She had no hope, no future and knew no other way of earning a living.

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