Introduction

Oi gente!

My name is Suzanne and I am a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, with a Bachelor’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies. I am interested in international affairs, human rights, urban studies, and sustainable development, with a particular emphasis on topics in Latin America.

This year I was awarded the 2016 Human Rights Center Fellowship of the University of California to execute a project centered on human trafficking in Brazil, and specifically the commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents (CSECA) in Rio de Janeiro. I will be working on my project through the months of August and September in partnership with the non-governmental organization (NGO) Promundo. Promundo is a Brazilian NGO dedicated to promoting gender equality and the rights of women and children in countries around the world. To this end, the organization has launched several research initiatives and programs related to CSECA in Rio, and I will be examining these initiatives as part of a project aimed at analyzing the non-profit sector’s response to the problem of sex trafficking. This project will include close work with the NGO Promundo as well as other actors involved in efforts against CSECA, including shelters for victims, academics, and politicians. Through this research, I hope to shed light on what is being done to combat the issue of sexual exploitation of children and adolescents, as well as what remains left to do. I also hope to contribute knowledge about the nature of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Rio de Janeiro, including the factors of vulnerability that create victims, as well as the impact of the upcoming Olympic Games upon the problem.

I will be keeping a blog over the next three months to chronicle my time spent in the city of Rio de Janeiro and my travels around Brazil. The purpose of this blog is twofold: the first is to give updates on my work with Promundo and on the project I have outlined. To this end, I will be posting regular updates about the progress I am making, the questions I still face, and the methodologies that I practice. I will also record the activities of the NGO Promundo during this time, including its numerous programs around Rio de Janeiro, with which I will hopefully assist.

The second purpose of this blog is separate from the fellowship, and is a project aimed at capturing Brazilian citizens’ perspectives on the upcoming Olympic Games. The project was conceived as part of a larger curiosity towards the attitudes of Brazilian citizens towards their nation’s hosting of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. While in Rio during the first of these two major international sporting events, I witnessed the aggravation and anger of many Brazilians in reaction to their country’s decision to host an expensive and politically unsound event like the World Cup. Now, upon my return to Rio, I wish to capture these sentiments for an international audience, this time as they pertain to the Olympic Games. Through a series of short interviews with Brazilian individuals, I hope to give voice to the citizen to express their unabridged opinions about the controversial event.

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