Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Brasil will end its "I am a happy prostitute" program

In order to combat (fight against) AIDS, the government of Brasil created some TV commercials targeting (aimed at, directed at) prostitutes.  However, some people feel the government went too far, and seemed to be OKing (approving, saying 'yes' to) prostitution as a possible job choice.

Although some people might argue that prostitution should be a woman's choice, I tend to disagree. I think that in very poor countries, like Thailand and Brasil, many poor girls (and boys) feel forced to pursue this type of life for their basic survival.  Indeed, one of the most heart-breaking films I ever saw was called "Born into Brothels."  A brothel is a building where prostitutes gather and meet their customers.  The movie was set in India and showed how the children of prostitutes are often forced to become prostitutes themselves.

Sex trafficking (the kidnapping and transportation of women to 'buyers') is a huge problem around the world.  I think it's appalling (shocking) that the government of Brasil would be so irresponsible.  Do you agree? Disagree?

The article:

Vocabulary to help you read the article:

Aids or AIDS - Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.  A syndrome is a collection of symptoms (signs/problems) by which a doctor can identify a disease. For instance, if you have a fever (your body temperature is too high), a sore throat and you are coughing, these are three symptoms that a doctor will notice and use to determine what illness you might have.  AIDS is a disease which suddenly appeared worldwide in the 1980s.  The New York Times initially called it "The Gay Cancer" because many gay males in America initially died from the disease.  It is sexually transmitted (the AIDS virus is transferred between people during various forms of sex) and can destroy a person's immune system (the system that fights off germs that enter your body), leading to the slow death of the person.

a prostitute - a woman who sells her body for the purpose of providing sex to the buyer.

to drop a campaign - to end/stop a campaign. A campaign is an effort to accomplish some goal.  The word campaign often refers to a military campaign although there are social campaigns against homelessness or poverty or hunger etc.

reducing prejudice against sex workers - lowering negative attitudes or biases against prostitutes.

to endorse the advert - to endorse something means to approve of it or to say that it is OK.  An advert is an advertisement.

the campaign glorified prostitution - the advertisements made it seem as if a life of prostitution was something really good.  To glorify anything is to take something kind of negative or nasty and make it seem better. i.e.  Many Hollywood films glorify violence.

the message was being tested - they wanted to get a sense of what the public reaction might be before making the advertisement completely public. 

a condom - a rubber birth-control device worn by a man during sex.

a pragmatic approach - a practical or 'real world' approach. A realistic approach.   The Catholic Church does not approve of men wearing condoms during sex, but Brasil is more practical than the Church and actively distributes condoms.

overwhelmingly Catholic - most of the people are Catholic.

to attract criticism - to do something that causes people to pay attention to you and to criticize you.
To draw criticism to yourself.

festive - happy, joyous

not ashamed of using a condom - basically, there is nothing wrong or nothing to be embarrassed about in regard to wearing a condom.

a boom - a sudden increase.  A 'surge' would be a synonym.

sex tourism - when people go to a country where prostitution is either legal or illegal but the authorities do not care whether people engage in this activity.

widespread poverty - a lack of money throughout the country.  Poverty or poorness exists all throughout Brasil.

to vow - to promise, to pledge

Questions for discussion/writing:

Given the fact that many young people are forced into prostitution to survive, do you think this 'job' should be legal in countries like Brasil and Thailand? 

Do you think that governments should crack down on the people who run prostitution and trafficking organizations?  (To crack down on means to take very aggressive and forceful action against something).

What can/should be done to fight world-wide prostitution and sex trafficking?
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