Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived from birth in the country or from a parent. According to 2010 IBGE census data, there were approximately 599,000 unregistered children nationwide. Without birth certificates children cannot be vaccinated or enrolled in school. If the problem persists into adulthood, an unregistered adult cannot obtain a worker’s card or receive retirement benefits.
The CNJ, in partnership with the SDH, aimed to reduce the number of such children by registering children born in maternity wards. The National Documentation of Rural Workers initiative offered assistance in obtaining identification cards, birth certificates for children born in rural areas, labor cards, and tax documents. At year’s end more than 870,000 women and children had been documented through the program since 2004.
Child Abuse: Abuse and neglect of children and adolescents were problems and included rape, molestation, and impregnation of girls by family members. The SDH oversees the National Program to Confront Sexual Violence Against Children and Adolescents, which established nationwide strategies for combating child sexual abuse and best practices for treating victims.
From January to April, the SDH-operated Dial 100, a hotline that receives complaints of sexual abuse against children and adolescents, logged 34,138 complaints, compared with 19,946 during all of 2011. According to the SDH, the rise was due to increased national awareness of what constitutes sexual abuse and sexual exploitation.
Between January and November, there were 35,140 cases of sexual violence against children reported to Dial 100.
The NGO Social Service for Industry operated child protective centers in 12 state capitals. The program served 1,800 adolescents between the ages of 16 and 21 who received psychological counseling, medical attention, legal advice, and technical schooling.
According to data released in February by the National Register of Sheltered Children, there were 37,240 children and adolescents living in shelters provided by NGOs, churches, and other religious organizations throughout the country.
The Death Threat Protection Program for Children and Adolescents brought in 1,501 children and adolescents and 2,230 families in 2011, the latest period for which data were available. A majority of those shielded by the program had received death threats due to involvement in drug trafficking, and most entered the program accompanied by one or more family members. The program offered psychological counseling and technical courses to reinsert these youth into stable community situations.
Child Marriage: The minimum legal age of marriage is 21 (16 with parental or legal representative consent). According to UNICEF, 36 percent of women 20-24 years of age were married or in union before age 18.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law sets a minimum age for consensual sex of 14 years, with the penalty for statutory rape ranging between eight and 15 years in prison. The country was a destination for child sex tourism. Most of the major coastal cities in the northeast served as tourist destinations for the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents. While no specific laws address child sex tourism, it is punishable under other criminal offenses. According to data from the SDH, University of Brasilia, UNICEF, and the ILO, more than 100,000 children are victims of sexual exploitation each year.
In February the SDH announced a national Internet campaign against sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and adolescents. With a focus on prevention, the goal of the program was to raise awareness in 19 state capitals prior to the 2012 carnival season.
The law criminalizes child pornography. The penalty for possession of child pornography is up to four years in prison and a fine. Those who produce, reproduce, or offer for sale child pornography or recruit a child to participate in a pornographic production may be imprisoned up to eight years and fined.
Although the country is not a large-scale producer of child pornography, such material was spread on social networking Web sites. The Public Ministry, Dial 100, and the NGO Safernet, in partnership with the Federal Police, registered 10,715 child pornography complaints between January 1 and July 1, compared with 19,311 complaints in the same period in 2011.
The Ministry of Tourism continued to promote its code of conduct to prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the tourism industry. The Federal Highway Police and the ILO continued to disseminate awareness materials in places such as gas stations, bars, restaurants, motels, and nightclubs along highways considered areas for sexual exploitation of children and adolescents.
The Rio de Janeiro Municipal Secretariat for Social Assistance had 14 social assistance centers, all of which provided services to assist child and adolescent victims of sexual abuse and exploitation. Between January and August, the centers assisted 457 young victims, compared with 504 in the same period in 2011. Of the 457 cases, 424 were victims of sexual abuse and 33 were victims of sexual exploitation.
International Child Abductions: The country is a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. For information see the Department of State’s report on compliance at www.travel.state.gov/abduction/resources/congressreport/congressreport_4308.html as well as country-specific information at www.travel.state.gov/abduction/country/country_3781.html.