Abused, confused, lonely and abandoned, children take to the streets to find a safe refuge from abuse by parents or step-parents. In a life without hope from the moment they are born, they soon find that they have nowhere to go, no-one to turn to and no life to live. These are the street children of Brazil. Those in Brazil have perhaps the worst plight of Latin America’s 40 million street children, a figure translated into 100 million around the world. Sexually abused in deplorable living conditions, sold or rented by the day as sexual slaves to paedophile tourists jetting in for a “sex holiday” from European countries, Italy being one example recently identified, the children have only one option – the door. This door leads out onto a life which never really starts because the children never start to live. With only themselves to depend on, these solitary figures close themselves away from the outside world, retreating deeper and deeper into themselves into the hermetically sealed recesses of their terrified minds, with one unique objective in life : survival. Glue sniffing is an alternative to hunger and the hallucinations it produces a welcome respite from the nightmare of their daily existence, for such is the correct term. With time, the children will be exposed to other drugs, crack being the most easily available. By now probably brain damaged from years of malnutrition and drug abuse, these children fall into the vicious circle of needing to take drugs to escape from their hellish reality, needing to feed their addiction and needing money to feed it. The only way to make money is by stealing and/or selling their bodies to sex tourists. It is, after all, a continuation of what happened to many of these children at home, sold in many cases by their own families. The poverty of spirit demonstrated by these people is perpetuated by the poverty of morals shown by the tourists and the businesses which operate this sickening trade. Let there be no illusions – there are people, not just in Brazil, making handsome livings from this barefaced evil, creatures who, instead of trying to contribute towards a better planet and the eradication of slavery of this type, openly foment it. There are voluntary organisations which offer support, lodging, counselling and health care for these children and fortunately, there are success stories in their rehabilitation. Unfortunately, there are only too few working to this end. The fact that these street children exist is not only a shame for Brazil. It is a shame for the whole of mankind, that supposedly cultured animal on the threshold of the space age, that in the last thirty years, the global Gross National Profit of the world’s 20% richest countries has risen from 76.2% to 82.7%, while that of the poorest has fallen from 2.3% to 1.4%. It is a shame that the filth which exploits these conditions is allowed to co-exist on the same planet.
TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.RU LISBON
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