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Brazil Health Ministry Scraps ‘I’m Happy Being a Prostitute’ Campaign

It’s always fascinating to see what safe sex campaigns exist around the world, and one in Brazil recently caught everyone’s attention. Dubbed the “I’m happy being a prostitute” campaign, Brazil’s health ministry rolled out a series of online posters that showed smiling women next to slogans that promoted safe sex, such as “you can’t see me without a condom, my love.”

But then the same health ministry turned around and pulled all the posters last week. Though most of the posters only carried messages about safe sex, many citizens were unhappy with the depiction of happy prostitutes.

Now Brazil’s health minister Alexandre Padilha is claiming that the posters were put up by mistake. He’s gone to add, “I do not think this is a message the ministry should be sending. Our campaigns orient people how to avoid sexual transmitted diseases.”

“I’m happy to be a prostitute” was originally designed to promote safe sexual practices and remove social stigma towards sex workers. Even though Brazil legalized prostitution, prostitutes and other sex workers remain very much frowned upon. But with the World Cup just a year away, the government is trying to change public opinion, especially as there will surely be an influx of foreign customers.

The expected rise in customers has led Brazil’s sex industry to seek preparations as well. In the city of Belo Horizonte, for instance, free English lessons are being offered to prostitutes not only to help them communicate and work out prices with foreigners, but to also ensure their safety.

While the government has dropped the “I’m happy being a prostitute” campaign, another safe sex campaign is in the works with the tagline “Not ashamed of using a condom.” It’ll be interesting to see what comes out of that.

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Annie Pei

U Chicago

Annie is a Political Science major at the University of Chicago who not only writes for Her Campus, but is also one of Her Campus UChicago's Campus Correspondents. She also acts as Editor-In-Chief of Diskord, an online op-ed publication based on campus, and as an Arts and Culture Co-Editor for the university's new Undergraduate Political Review. When she's not busy researching, writing, and editing articles, Annie can be found pounding out jazz choreography in a dance room, furiously cheering on the Vancouver Canucks, or around town on the lookout for new places, people, and things. This year, Annie is back in DC interning with Voice of America once again!
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