In Brazil, a Fine Line Between Sex, Romance

Are local women who 'date' tourists really prostitutes?
By Sarah Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2009 11:25 AM CST
Tourists take pictures at the "Christ the Redeemer" statue in Rio de Janeiro, July 29, 2008.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Brazil’s reputation for sex tourism isn’t as straightforward as it seems, Seth Kugel writes for GlobalPost. Sure, lots of men visit Rio de Janeiro, in particular, “with one thing on their minds.” But “there are many gradations on the romance-to-prostitution continuum.” It’s common for poor Brazilian girls to “date” foreign men—not paid for sex per se, but dinners and gifts are expected.

“The material aspect is part of it,” said one girl who has dated tourists. “But it is pleasant to be with a man who likes me, who treats me well.” For many, the goal is to “go away to another place, to have a good life.” And it came true for one, who met a Belgian man who whisked her away and wants to marry her.