The Protect Children in Tourism Project in Brazil, initiated in 2010, aims to create a child protective environment by enlisting businesses and local law enforcement to better prevent child trafficking.
ECPAT-USA and its partner, the World Childhood Foundation (WCF), have developed in more detail the parameters of the project and to devised the methods for how to meet all the goals and objectives as described in the project proposal.
In order to improve the potential impact of the project, during a teleconference in May, the WCF Executive Director Ana-Maria Drummond suggested to change one of the target cities from Sao Paolo to Recife. The detailed reasons for this change were described in an email to G-TIP Marisa Ferri and Walt Wilcox, and relate to the significant vulnerability of Recife, compared to Sao Paolo to the trafficking and sexual exploitation of children. Part of that email is copied here: “São Paulo is a business city. Sex tourism and sex trafficking there is more likely to involve women than children or adolescents. It is a complex city to work and it is recommend by partners to first test our project outside at a location other than São Paulo . There is an active group of NGOs in Recife that have worked for a long time against the violence against children and adolescents.”
Upon approval of the new project location, ECPAT-USA’s Executive Director and the Advisor to the ECPAT-USA Executive Director for the Code of Conduct meet directly with the Brazilian partners to understand and learn about their activities in order to find synergies that would support the planning of the Project. The trip was carried out with two and a half days of meetings taking place in Recife with four WCF staff and staff of two local NGO partners:
IBISS from Rio de Janeiro (“Brazilian Institute for Innovations in Social Healthcare”, http://www.ibiss.info/ )- who came to Recife for these meetings, represented by Tiana Sento-Sé. With a small staff and more than three hundred employees that originated from the target groups, IBISS actively runs over sixty projects in Rio, including in a number of the most violent favelas .
The main IBISS programs are concentrate on:
1. Street work: new approaches are used to work with street children, homeless people, garbage collectors and sexually exploited people;
2. Shelter: children and young people who due to unforeseen circumstances ended up in a hopeless situations offered housing and assistance;
3. Community projects: together with the favela inhabitants, projects and programs are developed to improve their position in society;
4. Community building: in socially excluded favelas there is a focus on neighborhood improvement through the development of a solid infrastructure;
5. Special groups: the interests of organized groups of garbage collectors are looked after to reach sustainability;
Coletivo Mulher Vida (http://www.coletivomulhervida.org.br/), an NGO based in Recife, represented by Maria Luiza Duarte Araújo.
The mission of CMV is to prevent and combat domestic and gender violence, to promote self-esteem and civic actions for the benefit of children and adolescents, women and families, prioritizing populations that are socially marginalized and supporting a culture of human rights and peace. The main program areas of CMV are:
1. Primary prevention – strengthening community as a space of protection and prevention of domestic and sexual violence especially for teenagers, youth and women. This is carried out by the work of CMV in low-income communities in the Metropolitan Region of Recife, which has a high incidence of violence.
2. Secondary and tertiary prevention – guaranteeing, strengthening and expanding the psycho-social assistance and legal advice to prevent sexual exploitation of children and adolescents at secondary and tertiary levels, including systemic and family intervention.
3. Training and capacity building – to sensitize and educate different sectors of the society to act in a preventative manner.
4. Sexual Exploitation Observatory, which aims to mobilize the society against sexual exploitation of children, particularly through prostitution, sex tourism and trafficking for sexual purposes. The Observatory also aims to inform and train youth and teenagers to be empowered and active agents in the combat of these phenomena.
5. Creating income opportunities – to favor development of skills towards personal growth, professional insertion in the workplace, through courses, art and sports of short and medium duration in various vocational training areas.
World Childhood Foundation – the formal ECPAT USA Protect partner, facilitated the meeting and was represented by Ana Maria Drummond, Itamar Batista Gonçalves, Gorete Vasconcelos and Madalena Fuchs.
Both IBISS and Coletivo Mulher Vida are members of the ECPAT International network and regular partners that the WCF calls on for working in their respective communities. Both IBISS and Coletivo gave a two hour presentation, each, about the work they have carried out against sexual violence of children, including training programs, outreach programs, and service programs. IBISS specializes in innovative outreach and training campaigns to protect youth in the favelas of Rio. Coletivo has a neighborhood house in a poor neighborhood in Recife in which it provides numerous services for women and children, including health services and afterschool activities. Both organizations have carried out project in partnership with donor countries such as Canada and Germany and with international agencies such as ILO, Save the Children and IADB.
Both agencies are part of a group of grassroots NGOs that are regularly convened by WCF to share information and to jointly plan activities against sexual violence against children including sex tourism and trafficking. Both agencies are also part of the ECPAT coalition in Brazil. They are the two groups that WCF was planning to bring into the project to carry out some of the tasks of the proposed Protect Children in Trafficking Project.
After the two and a half days of discussion in Recife, it the partners agreed that the scope of the ECPAT USA project is a good fit for the profiles and organizational interests of all organizations: for CMV operating in Recife; for IBISS operating in Rio, and for WCF facilitating the overall project management. It was however suggested, that subcontracting directly with the two local groups would be a more efficient use of our funds, especially since WCF would continue to be involved in a pro bono basis by offering technical assistance, mediation, advice and continuing to support these groups through their ongoing activities together.
Other results of the meetings in June were discussion about the project’s timeline and how to get it up and running. It was recommended by local partners that the project begin first in Recife and Rio during 2010-2011, before turning to Manaus where there will be additional challenges to the work. Manaus is a great distance from the larger cities in Brazil and the NGOs in Manaus are smaller and less developed. This lack of development will make it harder to disseminate the anti-trafficking and anti-sex tourism messages. Ideally the project will have been successfully initiated in Rio and Recife before bringing it to Manaus (2012). The meeting minutes were compiled by WCF and shared with the project partners.
ECPAT groups throughout Brazil met together to discuss the work plan for ECPAT Brazil for the year. Participants were the 23 of the 27 affiliated organizations from the Northeast, Southeast and Central Western Regions, including World Childhood Foundation. Groups were informed about the planned actions of ECPAT Brazil for the next two years including the Project in partnership with ECPAT USA.
Currently, Coletivo Mulher Vida and IBISS have begun their trainings of local law enforcement, tourist agencies, hotels, and other service providers. More details will be posted on these trainings and how many organizations and corporations have signed the Code of Conduct soon.