Marajoaras Girls and the Panties Factory of Damares (our human rights minister)
In August 2019, I followed as a photographer the coverage of reporter Andrea Dip on sexual violence against children and adolescents in Marajó Island. In the previous month, human rights minister Damares Alves, had announced the creation of a new social program to combat the issue, "Abrace o Marajó", and stated that girls are abused because they need panties, so she would build a underwear factory in the region.
We investigated the real reason for the recurring reports of abuse and sexual exploitation of children in the archipelago, which became known for the phenomenon of "ferry girls", children who dock their canoes on ferries in the rivers and are exploited by truck drivers and other workers in return of food.
We followed an action by the Public Ministry in the rural area of the municipality of São Sebastião da Boa Vista, a training lecture for students and teachers in the community of Nossa Senhora de Nazaré on sexual exploitation and abuse. We also visited the home of a family that housed a 15-year-old girl, who was raped by her own father since she was a child and became pregnant at 11. The family adopted her and her daughter as sisters.
Throughout the investigation, we noticed the alarming absence of the State in the poorest parts of Marajó. There, everything is lacking: in São Sebastião da Boa Vista there have been no chief police officer for a year, or boats for police and Guardianship Council operations, let alone shelters for abused children. The municipalities of Marajó have some of the worst human development indexes (HDI) in the country.
Check the full report on the website of Agência Pública.