Last March, after reading several online articles about the expected increase in prostitution and human trafficking in relation to the World Cup in Brazil, I decided to research the issue of child prostitution. Although I expected this to be a complex issue, I did not realize how many challenges and myths I would encounter while researching the topic.
As part of Rio de Janeiro’s 2016 Olympic bid, the olympic committee made a couple of large promises, one of them the clean up of Guanabara Bay in the North Zone of Rio de Janeiro. The Guanabara Bay will be one of the main features of the opening ceremony and will hold competitions for all sailing and rowing events. City officials promised to reduce waste and pollution in the bay by 80% but little progress has been made.1 If you ask any resident of Rio de Janeiro if the bay is fit for competition, or even display, they would confidently say no.
In Brazil, March 15th marks the end of the dictatorial era of Brazil, but this past March 15th marked a different and equally as important date in history; this year millions of protesters took to the streets throughout Brazil to protest the current president, Dilma Rousseff. Dilma, and her Worker’s Party colleagues, have been in the midst of a national scandal since the end of 2014.
Statistics from the UNDOC routinely rank Latin America as the most violent region in the world, and more than 150,000 people died from homicide in the Americas in 2012. In Brazil alone, more than 50,000 people were victims of homicide in 2012, more than triple the number in the U.S. (UNDOC, 2013). The crime epidemic that has arisen in the past decade in Latin America has resulted in the militarization of conflict, most exemplified by the Mexican government in its ongoing battle with drug cartels.
Brazil has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. So, it comes as no surprise that even in the context of pregnancies affected by the Zika virus, Brazil is faced with theological and political challenges.
The 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympic Games are making history in a number of ways. They will be the first Olympic Games hosted on the South American continent. Second, they have shown the worst preparation for the games in Olympic history. This chaos has played a large factor in neglecting the Legacy Projects that were promised as part of the 2016 Olympic Games.
Much attention has been given to the fact that both the World Cup and Olympics are being held in Brazil and for good reason, they showcase the hosting country on the international stage. The sporting events allow the host country, and even the surrounding region to a lesser extent, the ability to put its best foot forward and signal its growth, stability, and good governance. While these two mega-events receive international attention, they are not the only international sporting events that take place in South America.
Industrialized countries, national officials, transnational corporations, and multilateral banks have developed a new consensus model of development using mega-projects. This new investment model continues to undermine current social and environmental safeguards.