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FEDERATIVE REPUBLIC OF BRAZIL:
SEX WORKERS EVICTED AND ABUSED BY POLICE

Update info:
17 Jul 2014
Country:
FEDERATIVE REPUBLIC OF BRAZIL
Subject:
Isabel (anonymized name)
Gender: f
Period:
14 Aug 2014
Distribution date:
17 Jul 2014
UA No:
167/2014

Isabel (anonymized name), a sex worker in the city of Niterói, was assaulted and threatened after she publicly denounced the rape and extortion of sex workers by police during illegal raids and evictions on 23 May. Around 300 sex workers are now without a home and the safety of Isabel and her family remains at risk.

Isabel is a sex worker in Niterói, a city in the state of Rio de Janeiro. On 4 June she participated in a public hearing where she denounced several violent acts committed by police officers against her and her colleagues on 23 May, when the police invaded a building where around 300 sex workers live and engage with clients. In addition to extortion, Isabel and other sex workers claim that the police raped them, stole their property and planted evidence among their belongings to falsely incriminate them for crimes, prior to detaining them without warrants for interrogation and closing their apartments as “crime scenes”.

The sale or purchase of sexual services is not a crime in Brazil and a representative of the Public Defender’s Office has argued that the police actions were illegal. Despite efforts to file complaints against the police, the sex workers have reported that the Special Police Unit for Violence Against Women refused to register their allegations on the day of the raid, and that the lawyers assisting them were forbidden from witnessing their interrogations.

After speaking out against the police violence and unlawful state actions, Isabel was kidnapped by four men and forced to enter a car on 21 June. Over a period of 30 minutes, the men cut Isabel’s arms with a razor blade, showed her pictures of her son entering his school and ordered her to stop making accusations against the police and talking to journalists. Since then, Isabel has not returned to her home, feels unable to report the kidnap and fears reprisals against her family. The building remains closed and around 300 sex workers are without a home.

Take action

Please write immediately in Portuguese, English or your own language:

  • Urging the authorities to protect Isabel and to investigate her kidnapping and threats against her family;
  • Demanding that they ensure a prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigation of the allegations of police violence against sex workers, and the unlawful evictions in Niterói during the 23 May operation;
  • Calling on them to cancel the illegal closure of the apartments where sex workers lived and worked, enabling them to return to their homes.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 14 AUGUST 2014 TO
State Secretary of Public Security
José Mariano Beltrame
Praça Cristiano Ottoni, s/nº
Prédio da Central do Brasil
CEP 20221-250, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Fax: +55 21 2334-9329
Email: secretariodeseguranca@seguranca.rj.gov.br
Salutation: Dear Mr. Secretary

Attorney General of the State of Rio de Janeiro
Dra. Lucia Léa Guimarães Tavares
Rua do Carmo, 27 – 13th floor
CEP 20011-900 Centro
Rio de Janeiro-RJ, Brazil
Tel/Fax: +55 21 2332-9274 / 2332-9278
Email: gpgsecretarias@pge.rj.gov.br
Salutation: Dear. Ms. Attorney General

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

Name: Isabel (anonymized name)
Gender m/f: f
UA: 167/14 Index: AMR 19/006/2014 Issue Date: 3 July 2014