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The Road
Where Childhoods
Are Stolen


The BR-116 is Brazil’s longest and busiest highway and the fourth-longest road in the world. But it is also known as the worst road in the world for the sexual exploitation of children.

According to a Government study, along its 2,700 miles there are at least 262 places where it is known children are sold for sex – or, on average, one every ten miles

The worst rate of child sexual exploitation on the BR-116 is along a 300km stretch in the north of Minas Gerais state and south of Bahia state known as the child prostitution corridor.

It is where our five Pink Houses reach out to hundreds of vulnerable girls every day.

Child Sexual Exploitation In Brazil

Brazil is considered the country with the second highest rates of child sexual exploitation in the world.

Every 24 hours 320 children are sexual exploited in the country, according to Brazil’s Human Rights Secretariat. The real numbers are much higher however – another study found that only 7 in ever 100 cases are reported.

Most of the victims of child sexual exploitation are aged between 7 and 14, 75% are girls, and most are black.

Sex Trafficking On the BR-116

The US Department of State describes Brazil is a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking.

No-where is the practise more intense than on the BR-116, Brazil’s main transport artery which cuts through some of the country’s poorest regions.

Along the 300km stretch of the highway where Meninadança works, known as the ‘child prostitution corridor’, 90.4% of communities have a human development index of low or very low. Many are known as supply towns for child sexual exploitation and are targeted by trafficking gangs.

It is not uncommon in these communities for young girls to go missing and never be seen again.

The Culture Of Exploitation

Brazil has been criticised for its failure to counter a cultural acceptance of child sexual exploitation, demonstrated by recent court decisions in which men had been found not guilty of rape with girls as young as 12 because they were regarded as prostitutes.

This is accentuated along the BR-116, where for many decades prostitution became seen as a legitimate way for women and girls to make a living.

In communities where Meninadança works many families still look to their young daughters to supplement the family income, and it is common for girls to suffer abuse at home as an initiation into sexual exploitation.

“My childhood was stolen on the BR-116. But Meninadanca gave me back my happiness, my hopes, and my dreams.

Bia, 16