WEEKLY BLOG: A Repeat Performance: “Mega event tactics” on Brazil’s sex Industry over the World Cup 2014 … and the Commonwealth Games 2014?


This week’s guest blog is by Janine Ewen. Janine Ewen carried out Independent research as part of her research methods learning for her MSc in Health Improvement at the Robert Gordon University. Janine received a humanitarian award acknowledgement from the British Red Cross in 2013 for activities in Brazil and work in overseas sustainable first aid in East Africa. Other activities include writing news reports for Politics First and Scottish Policy Now.

Twitter:  @JanineEwen

This is a follow up blog from one previously written by Janine earlier in the year.

A Repeat Performance: “Mega event tactics” on Brazil’s sex Industry over the World Cup 2014 … and the Commonwealth Games 2014?

Janine Elizabeth Ewen

Acknowledgement: Credit needs to be given to the on-going work by the research team of Red Light Rio and those who are supporting sex worker led charities such as Davida. I would personally like to thank, Julie Ruvolo , Editor of the Red Light Rio website for keeping the globe up to date on the impacts of the World Cup 2014 on Brazil’s sex working community.

Venomous motives in Niterói

On 23rd May 2014, police from the 76th Police Precinct in Niterói, near Rio de Janeiro, invaded (without judicial authorisation) a building named Avenida Amaral Peixoto, which was occupied by 300 sex workers and other residents. The illegal police crackdown operation named ‘Project Reurbanizacao’ involved the removal of around 100 sex workers, who were taken for investigation at police stations.  The operation is believed to be a part of mass hygienisation (social cleansing) in the city centre of Niterói, aimed at enforcing a new “image of Brazil” for the FIFA World Cup 2014 which began on the 12th of June.

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Sex workers, those living in the apartment, and surrounding residents of the area faced displacement and closed businesses.  Sex workers reported acts of rape (women were forced to perform oral sex on the police), theft, and physical violence by the police officers, with further claims that the police planted evidence of false crimes in their belongings.

After returning to the apartment complex from their release, sex workers went back to their rooms to find little left or nothing at all. Windows were smashed, door locks destroyed. Personal items and money were taken, leading to the presumption that illegally escorting sex workers to the police station was a venomous motive to take everything and to shame sex workers and allies, reminding everyone of the power of the police. Having the law on their side paves the way for countless acts of corrupt police action against the sex working community.

The Public Hearing

A public hearing took place on the 4th of June at the Rio de Janeiro state legislature based on the violations of the rights of prostitutes in Niterói. The public hearing was organized by the Human Rights Commission and the Commission for the Defence of Women’s Rights. The discussion throughout the day spoke of the surrounding residents who tried to make complaints, but were disregarded by deputy officer of the police said he could not interfere in the operations of 76. Those present (sex workers, lawyers, the general public) highlighted the persecution of these women, the lack of information, illegal and violent actions of the police, and the incessant attempts by the police, to prevent the action of the lawyers who support prostitutes in monitoring the case.

Clara Prazeres Bragança from the Women’s Rights Defence Nucleus of the Public Defender’s Office described these offences as, “moral reasoning and morality that I disapprove very sincerely of. Either the state no longer controls its police, or there is a deliberate policy of human rights violations”. She confirmed that the officers involved had no legal reason for the motives endured by sex workers and residents.

Due to the absence of representatives of the Police to answer questions, it was decided that another hearing will be organised. The Head of the Civil Police, the Civil Defence, and the Public Ministry of the State and residents of Niteroi will be invited.

For the full story on the Public Hearing, please refer to the link: Public Hearing on Niterói Case Confirms Illegal Actions and Egregious Police Abuses against Sex Workers found in resources at the end of the article

The Kidnapping of Isabel

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Isabel is one of the sex workers who now bears the marks from the violence that erupted by police officers that Saturday in Niterói, on her arms and neck. However this would not be the last of her ordeal.

On the 21st of June, Isabel was kidnapped by individuals believed to be the police. She was corned by both a motorcycle and a car as she walked up St. John’s Avenue in down town Niterói.

The driver of the bike grabbed her by the hair and threw her into the car. Isabel recalls being surrounded by four men.

“They pulled my hair back and with a razor on my neck showed me pictures of my son in front of the school, “she says. Isabel recalls that the four men inside the vehicle just said, “Get out of the media. Stop the complaints. ”

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Isabell believes that she was picked up having actively campaigned publicly about the violent and illegal actions of the police. She also gave evidence at the public hearing.

Isabel’s story has now become an online video. Her story is in Portuguese, but English subtitles are available.

The video shows the Isabel’s scars, a very descriptive account of what she was told by the believed police suspects. The recording also sheds more light on the reasons behind the building invasion, as the police stopped receiving bribery money to allow sex workers to occupy the building and maintain their business with clients. When the bribery money stopped, the invasions began.

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Isabel has had no choice but to go into hiding, but her bravery speaks volumes. Isabel hasn’t stopped promoting what the police did. There is only one resolution for her and the rest of the sex working community. This is justice.

Research has found that sex workers can become susceptible to adverse circumstances during International sporting events by the police.  These effects on sex workers can categorise into the following: harassment; violence; displacement from areas of work and problems in meeting clients. Increased health risks are also higher from feeling unsafe and unable to access service. Although it can be argued that the above would occur regardless of an event, mega sporting events have been found to accelerate displacement activities to prioritise certain agendas over others, in particular a country’s image regeneration which brings issues such as sex work more readily to the surface. Much of this stems from the security preparation from police officers, who often adopt a military like approach during mega events.  Conflated claims on human trafficking and organised crime leads to major crackdowns on the sex industry, despite limited evidence to suggest these crimes take place.  I recently wrote for RIOONWATCH on the security plans over the Commonwealth Games and the distinct similarities between Brazil and Scotland. Although I have not made a reference to sex workers, it has set the foundations to consider the rationale behind military policing over mega sporting events, and the uncanny similarities by examining both hosts.

Part two of Janine’s blog will feature on our website next week, with a focus upon a comparison between the policing at the World Cup 2014 in Brazil and the policing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland.


Isabel the Witness video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHwQis5iDxQ&feature=youtu.be

Public Hearing on Niterói Case Confirms Illegal Actions and Egregious Police Abuses against Sex Workers http://www.akissforgabriela.com/?cbg_tz=-60&cat=3

Sexuality Policy Watch: ABIA disseminates a statement repudiating police action against sex workers in Niterói (RJ) http://www.sxpolitics.org/?p=9264#sthash.67zfSxN0.dpuf

Pictures of the damage caused by the police of the building in Niterói https://www.flickr.com/photos/124417521@N03/sets/72157644627498907/

A Kiss for Gabriela:  Official letter sent to the Director for the Promotion of Human Rights, State Secretariat for the Monitoring of the Social Welfare and Human Rights of Prostitutes. http://www.akissforgabriela.com/?cbg_tz=-60&p=3575

Red Light Rio (an interactive and on-going documentary) led by Julie Ruvolo http://redlightr.io/about/

Janine Ewen: Mega Sporting Events, Politics & Security in Brazil & Scotland in 2014 http://www.rioonwatch.org/?p=16050

Yr un hen stori: “Effaith tactegau ar gyfer digwyddiadau enfawr” ar y diwydiant rhyw ym Mrasil yn ystod Cwpan y Byd 2014 … a Gemau’r Gymanwlad 2014?

Janine Elizabeth Ewen

Cydnabyddiaeth: Mae angen cydnabod y gwaith sydd ar y gweill gan dîm ymchwil Red Light Rio a’r rheiny sy’n gefnogol i elusennau a gaiff eu harwain gan weithwyr rhyw, megis Davida. Hoffwn ddiolch yn bersonol i, Julie Ruvolo, Golygydd gwefan Red Light Rio am ddarparu’r byd â’r wybodaeth ddiweddaraf ynglŷn ag effeithiau Cwpan y Byd 2014 ar y gymuned gwaith rhyw ym Mrasil.


Cymhelliant gwenwynig yn Niterói

Ar 23ain Mai 2014, meddiannodd heddlu o Ranbarth Heddlu 76 yn Niterói, ger Rio de Janeiro,(heb awdurdod barnwrol) adeilad a enwir Avenida Amaral Peixoto, lle ‘roedd 300 o weithwyr rhyw a thrigolion eraill yn byw.  ‘Roedd y cyrch anghyfreithlon gan yr heddlu, dan yr enw ‘Project Reurbanizacao’ yn golygu arestio tua 100 o weithwyr rhyw a’u cludo i swyddfeydd yr heddlu i’w holi. Credir fod y cyrch yn rhan o brosiect ‘glanhau cymdeithasol’ enfawr yng nghanol dinas Niterói, wedi ei anelu at gadarnhau “delwedd newydd Brasil” ar gyfer Cwpan y Byd FIFA 2014 a ddechreuodd ar 12fed Mehefin.

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‘Roedd gweithwyr rhyw, ynghyd â’r rheiny oedd yn byw yn y fflatiau a’r ardal gyfagos, yn wynebu colli eu cartrefi a’u busnesau. Soniodd gweithwyr rhyw am gael eu treisio (gorfodwyd menywod i gael rhyw geneuol gyda swyddogion yr heddlu), bu achosion o ddwyn a thrais corfforol ar ran yr heddlu, gyda honiadau pellach fod yr heddlu wedi plannu tystiolaeth o droseddau ffug ymysg eu heiddo.

Ar ôl dychwelyd i’r fflatiau ar ôl cael eu rhyddhau, ‘doedd yno fawr ddim ar ôl yn eu ‘stafelloedd. ‘Roedd ffenestri wedi eu malu a chloeon drysau wedi eu dinistrio. ‘Roedd eitemau personol ac arian wedi eu dwyn, gan arwain at y ddamcaniaeth fod llusgo gweithwyr rhyw i swyddfa’r heddlu’n anghyfreithlon yn ddim mwy nag esgus maleisus i ddwyn popeth a chodi cywilydd ar weithwyr rhyw a’u cyfeillion, gan atgoffa pawb o bwerau’r heddlu. ‘Roedd bod â’r gyfraith ar eu hochr yn gyfle am weithredu anghyfreithlon gan yr heddlu yn erbyn y gymuned sy’n dibynnu ar waith rhyw.

Y Gwrandawiad Cyhoeddus

Cynhaliwyd gwrandawiad cyhoeddus ar 4ydd Mehefin yn neddfwrfa talaith Rio de Janeiro yn sgil y gamdriniaeth o hawliau puteiniaid yn Niterói. Trefnwyd y gwrandawiad cyhoeddus gan y Comisiwn Hawliau Dynol a’r Comisiwn er Amddiffyn Hawliau Menywod. Cyfeiriodd y drafodaeth a gafwyd gydol y diwrnod at drigolion eraill yr ardal a geisiodd wneud cwynion, ond a anwybyddwyd gan ddirprwy swyddog o’r heddlu a ddywedodd na allai ymyrryd â gweithgareddau 76. Aeth y rheiny oedd yn bresennol (gweithwyr rhyw, cyfreithwyr a’r cyhoedd yn gyffredinol) ati i ddwyn sylw at y ffaith i’r menywod hyn gael eu herlid, y diffyg gwybodaeth, ymddygiad anghyfreithlon a threisgar yr heddlu, ac ymgais ddiddiwedd yr heddlu i atal y cyfreithwyr oedd yn gweithredu ar ran y puteiniaid rhag monitro’r achos.

Disgrifiodd Clara Prazeres Bragança o Adran Amddiffyn Hawliau Menywod y Swyddfa Amddiffyniad Cyhoeddus y troseddau hyn fel, “rhesymeg foesegol a moeseg na allaf eu cymeradwyo. Naill ai nid yw’r wladwriaeth bellach yn rheoli ei heddlu, neu mae yno bolisi bwriadol o anwybyddu hawliau dynol.” Cadarnhaodd nad oedd gan y swyddogion a gymerodd ran yn y cyrchoedd unrhyw reswm cyfreithlon dros drin gweithwyr rhyw a thrigolion eraill yn y fath ffordd. Oherwydd nad oedd cynrychiolwyr o’r heddlu’n bresennol i ateb cwestiynau, penderfynwyd y byddai gwrandawiad arall yn cael ei drefnu. Estynnir gwahoddiad i Bennaeth yr Heddlu Sifil, a Gweinyddiaeth Gyhoeddus y Wladwriaeth, ynghyd â thrigolion Niterói.

Am y stori gyflawn am y Gwrandawiad Cyhoeddus, dilynwch y ddolen: Gwrandawiad Cyhoeddus ar achos Niterói yn cadarnhau Ymddygiad Anghyfreithlon a Chamdriniaeth Ddybryd ar ran yr Heddlu yn erbyn Gweithwyr Rhyw sydd i’w weld ar ddiwedd yr erthygl

Herwgipio Isabel

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Mae Isabel yn un o’r gweithwyr rhyw sydd nawr â chreithiau ar ei breichiau a’i gwddw yn sgil y trais a ffrwydrodd yn dilyn cyrch yr heddlu ar y dydd Sadwrn hwnnw yn Niterói. Serch hynny nid dyma fyddai diwedd ei dioddefaint.

Ar 21ain Mehefin, herwgipiwyd Isabel gan unigolion y credir i fod yn aelodau o’r heddlu. Fe’i cornelwyd gan feic-modur a char wrth iddi gerdded i fyny Rhodfa St. John yng nghanol dinas Niterói.

Gafaelodd gyrrwr y beic yn ei gwallt gar ei thaflu i’r car. Mae Isabel yn cofio cael ei hamgylchynu gan bedwar dyn.

“Tynnwyd fy ngwallt yn ôl a gyda rasel ar fy ngwddw, dangoswyd lluniau o fy mab i mi o flaen yr ysgol” meddai.  Mae Isabel yn cofio i’r pedwar dyn yn y cerbyd ddweud wrthi am “Gadw allan o’r cyfryngau a rhoi taw ar y cwynion.”

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Photo caption:

gafaelodd gyrrwr y beic yn fy ngwar gan fy ngorfodi i mewn i’r car

Cred Isabel ei bod wedi cael ei chipio oherwydd ei bod wedi ymgyrchu’n gyhoeddus ynglŷn ag ymddygiad treisgar ac anghyfreithlon yr  heddlu. Bu hefyd yn cyflwyno tystiolaeth yn y gwrandawiad cyhoeddus.

Mae stori Isabel bellach ar gael ar ffurf fideo ar-lein. Mae ei stori mewn Portiwgaleg ond mae is-deitlau Saesneg ar gael.

Mae’r fideo’n dangos creithiau Isabel ac yn cynnwys disgrifiad manwl o’r hyn a ddywedwyd wrthi gan yr heddlu honedig. Mae’r recordiad hefyd yn esbonio rhywfaint ar y rhesymau tu ôl i’r cyrchoedd ar adeiladau, gan nad oedd yr heddlu bellach yn derbyn cildwrn i ganiatáu gweithwyr rhyw i ddefnyddio’r adeilad a chynnal eu busnes gyda chleientiaid. Pan ddaeth y taliadau hyn i ben, fe ddechreuodd y cyrchoedd.

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Photo caption:

Dywedwyd y gallwn i ddewis cael fy arestio neu fy lladd, oherwydd ‘roedd ganddynt y pŵer i wneud beth bynnag y mynnant

‘Doedd gan Isabel ddim dewis ond cuddio rhagddynt, ond mae ei dewrder yn dweud cyfrolau. Nid yw Isabel wedi rhoi’r gorau i ddwyn sylw at yr hyn a wnaeth yr heddlu. Dim ond un datrysiad sydd yno iddi hi a gweithwyr rhyw eraill, sef cyfiawnder.

Mae ymchwil wedi dangos y gall amgylchiadau negyddol effeithio ar weithwyr rhyw yn ystod digwyddiadau chwaraeon rhyngwladol. Mae’r amgylchiadau hyn yn perthyn i’r categorïau canlynol: aflonyddu; trais; gwahardd o’u mannau gwaith a phroblemau gyda chyfarfod â chleientiaid. Mae yno hefyd risg gynyddol i iechyd a theimlad nad ydynt yn ddiogel nac yn gallu cael mynediad i wasanaethau. Er y gellir dadlau y byddai’r uchod yn digwydd pe na fyddai Cwpan y Byd ymlaen, mae yno dystiolaeth fod digwyddiadau chwaraeon enfawr yn cyflymu’r tueddiad i gael gwared â gweithwyr rhyw o ardaloedd penodol, gan roddi blaenoriaeth i’r agenda honno. Mae’n rhan o ymgais i adfer delwedd y wlad, sy’n dod â materion megis gweithwyr rhyw i’r amlwg. Mae llawer o hyn yn deillio o baratoadau’r heddlu, sy’n aml yn troi at ddulliau milwrol ar gyfer digwyddiadau enfawr. Mae honiadau ynglŷn â’r fasnach mewn pobl a throseddau eraill yn arwain at gyrchoedd yn erbyn y diwydiant rhyw, er gwaethaf prinder tystiolaeth i awgrymu fod y troseddau hyn y digwydd. Ysgrifennais ddarn yn ddiweddar ar gyfer RIOONWATCH  ar y cynlluniau diogeledd parthed Gemau’r Gymanwlad a’r tebygrwydd amlwg rhwng Brazil a’r Alban. Er na chyfeiriais at weithwyr rhyw, mae hyn wedi gosod y seiliau ar gyfer ystyried y rhesymeg tu ôl i blismona milwrol yn ystod digwyddiadau chwaraeon enfawr, a’r tebygrwydd anhygoel sy’n bodoli rhwng y ddwy wlad sy’n eu cynnal.


Isabel the Witness video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHwQis5iDxQ&feature=youtu.be

Gwrandawiad cyhoeddus ar Achos Niterói yn Cadarnhau Gweithredu Anghyfreithlon a Cham-drin Dybryd yr Heddlu yn erbyn Gweithwyr Rhyw http://www.akissforgabriela.com/?cbg_tz=-60&cat=3

Sexuality Policy Watch: ABIA yn gwasgar datganiad sy’n gwrthod gweithred yr heddlu yn erbyn gweithwyr rhyw yn Niterói (RJ) http://www.sxpolitics.org/?p=9264#sthash.67zfSxN0.dpuf

Lluniau o’r niwed ar yr adeilad a achoswyd gan yr heddlu yn Niterói https://www.flickr.com/photos/124417521@N03/sets/72157644627498907/

A Kiss for Gabriela:  Llythyr swyddogol a anfonwyd i Brif Weithredwr Hyrwyddo Hawliau Dynol, Adran Ysgrifenyddol am Fonitro Lles Cymdeithasol a Hawliau Dynol Puteiniaid.  http://www.akissforgabriela.com/?cbg_tz=-60&p=3575

Red Light Rio (rhaglen ddogfen ryngweithiol a chyfredol) a arweinir gan Julie Ruvolo http://redlightr.io/about/

Janine Ewen: Digwyddiadau Chwaraeon Enfawr, Gwleidyddiaeth & Diogelwch ym Mrasil ac yn yr Alban yn 2014 http://www.rioonwatch.org/?p=16050

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