Vila Mimosa is one of the most notorious areas of prostitution in Brazil. While sex tourists visit Copacabana en masse, Vila Mimosa attracts a more local clientele. A few thousand women work in this neighborhood in the north of Rio de Janeiro—estimations of the number of women varies between 2, and 3, —while the area claims to receive 4, visitors daily. The neighborhood is a network of dilapidated buildings, pool halls, shops, and brothels posing as bars—prostitution isn't illegal in Brazil, but owning and running a brothel is. Behind the storefronts, you'll find thousands of tiny, dark, almost suffocating rooms, where the prostitutes take their clients.
I Spent Seven Months Inside Brazil's Most Notorious Red Light District
Prostitution in Brazil - Wikipedia
Authorities have spent billions to ready the city, and each time tourists flocked in, local businesses braced for a bumper season. Nowhere is this clearer than in Centro, the downtown area of Rio, tucked in the shadow of the newly-constructed Olympic Boulevard. Once home to the historic red light district, Centro has since become the beating heart of big business, with towering office blocks bearing the names of major corporations such as Petrobras, BG, Total, Chevron, Electrobras, BNDES and Vale. And yet, a closer look at the shop fronts suggests the presence of another kind of commerce. The Rose Without Thorn is nestled in a quiet lane, not far from the Saara — a street market that is usually crammed with pedestrians. As an illegal brothel operating within the financial district, it survived, even thrived, alongside the decade-long Olympic facelift.
Prostitution in Brazil
After four years of tending bar at Centaurus, the most elite brothel in the sex-for-pay melee that is the recklessly beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro, Sergio Limas — 47 years old, pleasantly gruff and handsomely handlebar mustached — had become unfazeable. Even though it was forbidden, clients would often try and get him to come into one of the upstairs rooms, to sleep with him, or to watch him sleep with the girls whose time they had paid for. As Limas saw, anyone with enough money could live big at Centaurus. One evening, an anonymous rich dude shelled out tens of thousands of dollars and grabbed the master suite, plus about 20 girls, all for himself. He always gets two girls and he always has this candy bar.
As preparations for the World Cup accelerate, Brazilian authorities are attempting to sanitise the country's image by clamping down on sex-related businesses. More than 2, websites have been targeted, and prostitutes are being threatened with prison sentences for displaying advertisements in phone boxes. Fuelling this campaign are concerns that the influx of football fans this summer will trigger a boom in child prostitution and sex trafficking. But, according to Thaddeus Blanchette, an anthropologist who has documented prostitution in Rio since , this view is too simplistic. Media hype, Blanchette argues, rests on the false assumption that fans will visit prostitutes and that some of them will seek out sex with children.