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Country information: Brazil



8,511,965 square kilometres, corresponding to 47 percent of the total area of the South American continent


198,7 million (July 2009)


Brasilia (2,3 million inhabitants 2007) (biggest city is Sao Paulo with 19,2 million inhabitants 2007)

Official language

Brazilian Portuguese


US $ 10 100 (2008)

Population growth

1,2 per cent per annum (2009)

Life expectancy

72 years (men: 68,4 years, women: 75,7 years) (2009)

Infant mortality

22,6 per 1,000 live births (2009)

Rate of illiteracy

11,4 % (2004)




Tourism is becoming increasingly important for Brazil. Mass tourism and individual travellers are being attracted to the largest intact rain forests in the world, as well as to the fine sand beaches, such as the renowned 360 hectare Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro. The city administration of Rio has been implementing a strategic plan since 1997, to improve the tourist infrastructure and make Rio even more attractive as a tourist destination. An annual budget of some 15 million US-Dollars has been set aside for this. According to UNWTO in the year 2004 approximately 4,8 million guests came into the country and paid 2,6 billion Euro.


Commercial sexual exploitation of children in tourism

Together with other factors, expanding tourism has contributed to a growth of the leisure infrastructure. In its wake has come an increase in prostitution and trafficking in humans. Prostitution is encouraged by the impoverishment of large parts of the population: every day new children are driven into prostitution in order to ensure their families' economic survival. Street children are at particular risk of commercial sexual exploitation. In their desperation, some fall for offers of well-paid jobs. In recent years the numbers of children forced into sexual exploitation in the cities has increased markedly.


In order to work against this development, the government has set up special commissions in the cities. In 1998, the government spent US$ 1.7 million on rehabilitation measures for some 10 000 child prostitutes, aimed at keeping them off the streets. In addition, in 1997, a telephone hotline was set up so that people could report the sexual exploitation of children. Child abuse in Brazil is punished with prison sentences. Brazil also ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on September 25, 1990, and has undertaken to protect children against all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.


HIV / Aids

According to UNAIDS and the World Health Organization, approximately 730.000 people in Brazil were infected with HIV at the end of 2007, including

240.000 women. Between 2001 and 2007 the numder of infected people increased by 90.000. How many children were infected, could not be estimated. In the same year 15.000 Brazilians died following being infected with HIV.


Local Contacts


Agência de Notícias dos Direitos da Infância (ANDI)

(News Agency for Children's Rights - Brazil)

SDS Ed. Boulevard Center - Bloco A

Sala 101

Brasília-DF, 70.391-900, Brazil

Phone: +55 61 322 6508

Fax: +55 61 322 4973


Website: (in Portugese)

Main contact person(s): Camila Melo Oliveiro (



Av. W/3 Norte Quadra 506 Bloco "C" Mezanino, Lojas 21 e 25


CEP: 70.740-503

Phone: +55 061 274 66 32

Fax: +55 061 340 87 08




Brazilian Human Rights Centre


Ladeira de Santa Teresa 18

20241-140 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Phone: +55 21 232 1504 or +55 21 252 4458

Fax: +55 21 252 0961



Christian Children's Fund - Brazil

Rua Curitiba, 689 - 6o andar

Belo Horizonte MG, Brazil

Phone: +55 31 271 3115

Fax: +55 31 212 6957




State and society

The Federal Republic of Brazil is the fifth-largest country in the world. Head of state and government is the state president - since January 2003, this office has been held by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The National Congress consists of the House of Deputies and the Senate.


Brazil is a land of contrasts. Few countries have a greater gap between their many poor and few rich than in Brazil. Around 18% of the population lives on or below the poverty line. The loss of opportunities has led to increased drug and alcohol abuse, and to further criminalisation in everyday life; with armed robbery, including that of tourists, being frequent and rape common. Violence in the family is also a common experience for many children. The dire economic situation is often cited as an excuse.


The mixture of African, indigenous and European, specifically Portuguese traditions, has contributed to the cultural variety of Brazil. The population is ethnically diverse, with some 54 per cent white, 40 per cent mixed (mulattoes, caboclos and cafusos), and five percent black. The number of indigenous Amerindians is estimated at 350,000.


Some 80 per cent of Brazilians are Roman Catholic, but protestant groups are growing and there are increasing numbers of sects and syncretism-animist cults.



Brazil has the most important economy in Latin America and is one of the most industrialised countries in the region. It is rich in natural resources, hydroelectric power and human resources. Conditions are good for agriculture. It is the world's largest exporter of coffee, sugar cane and oranges, and is the world’s second largest producer of soy beans, corn, beef and poulty.


Despite the good underlying business conditions, wages fell between 2001 and 2003 and the country’s growth was slight, averaging 1.1%. This can be traced to international and domestically-inflicted business crises, which have held back Brazil over the last few years. The fact that a complete financial breakdown never occurred is largely attributed to former President Cardoso, who introduced a floating exchange rate oriented towards fighting inflation, and also furthered a program of privatization.


With an agricultural reform and special policies for rural areas, the government aims to improve the economic situation of the rural population. The process of economic reform has helped to reduce national debt and unemployment, and is now supposed to ensure economic growth.