Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/Brazil: Sex slavery: One woman's story
From: Melanie Orhant (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sat Nov 18 2000 - 11:32:27 EST
Tuesday, 12 December, 2000, 23:23 GMT
Sex slavery: One
Many women are lured into slavery from poor areas of
Rio de Janeiro
By Isabel Murray in Brazil
According to the United Nations, 'trafficking in
persons' is the third most profitable activity for
organised crime - only illicit arms dealing and
drug trafficking are more lucrative.
To combat this type of slavery, the UN is
holding a Convention against Transnational
Organised Crime this week in Palermo, Italy.
United Nations records show that Brazil is
currently the largest exporter of women slaves
in South America.
Government has no
official numbers, but
the UN and the Helsinki
of Human Rights say
that 75,000 Brazilian
women are being forced
to work as prostitutes within the boundaries of
the European Union.
Most of these women come from the states of
Goiás, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Those
who leave are often young women who go
abroad in search of a better life - like Simone
Borges Felipe, who went to Bilbao in Spain
when she was 25 years old.
Simone's father, João José Felipe, lives in
Goiânia, in the state of Goias. He remembers
his daughter telling him she was going to work
in Spain, where she had been promised a
salary of $2,000 a month. This was a lot of
money by the standards of her family.
The offer had been made by two girls originally
from the same city, who turned up once in a
while with the offer of work abroad.
But as soon as Simone arrived in Bilbao, she
phoned home to say that the reality was very
different to what she had imagined.
"We are all kept here
like prisoners. We work
in a club, they have
taken away our
documents, we are
forced to stand around
in just a tiny thong
bikini, and it's cold,"
she told her father, Mr
Felipe, overr the
"We are forced to work
as prostitutes if we
want to eat. And 35 women sleep in the same
After almost three months of distraught phone
calls, Simone told her parents that she was
coming back to Brazil. But shortly before she
was due to travel, they received a phone call
from Spain to say that she had died from
With the help of the Brazilian Federal Police
and Interpol, Mr Felipe managed to bring his
daughter's body back home. He says that all
the autopsies carried out showed clearly that
Simone had not had tuberculosis. He suspects
that his daughter was killed in order to prevent
her from telling others what she knew.
The owners of the club where Simone worked
in Bilbao were arrested, but released after
The ONU conference in Palermo will discuss the
creation of international mechanisms to control
the trafficking in human beings, so that stories
like Simone's are not repeated.
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