AGLDF has facilitated a civil case under the TVPA in the U.S. on behalf of Brazilian girls who were sexually exploited by clients of a U.S. fishing tour company engaged in sex tourism. This company was run by a U.S. citizen who brought American tourists on fishing trips to the Amazon. The owner and his employees would lure local girls--some as young as 13—onto his boats where the girls were forced to have sex with the tourists.
In June, AGLDF assisted the lawyers in filing the suit in Atlanta; the case was stayed in August at the request of the defendant until a related criminal investigation has been completed. The filing brought significant international media coverage that featured Equality Now/AGLDF, including an article in the New York Times.
Due to the media exposure, the Minister of Women’s Policies in Brazil stated that she would investigate sex tourism in the region of Amazonas and look into forming a committee to address the issue, and the Brazilian Federal Police stated that they were now investigating 20 customers and potential ‘johns’ who went on the defendant’s fishing tours to Brazil.
Additionally, Equality Now has found out that Brazilian Senate is conducting its own inquiry into this particular case, and they have held hearings during which the Brazilian co-owner of the travel agency testified and the Federal Police confirmed the sale of the tour packages.
AGLDF continues to work on the case in Uganda of N.S., a severely disabled girl, who was raped by a family member in 2007 when she was 13. Our goal in this case is to establish a precedent for government responsibility to take additional steps to investigate and prosecute cases of sexual violence against disabled victims.
Since the last update, AGLDF and our partner Legal Action for Persons with Disabilities (LAPD) Uganda has pushed for DNA testing of the father and brothers and for the prosecution of the perpetrator. We successfully raised funds for the testing, and after sustained advocacy with Ugandan authorities the case was reopened. The suspects were apprehended on 24 August 2011, and DNA samples taken. Additionally, the police took DNA samples from N.S. and her baby and these have been taken to the government chemist for review. We are still awaiting the results.
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