Brazilian sex workers brushing up on their English in World Cup lead-up

Free classes on offer in advance of 2014 soccer competition


Sex workers in Brazil, where prostitution is legal, will soon be getting a new set of skills to pay the bills.

Hundreds of prostitutes are signing up for free English classes in advance of the 2014 World Cup, which will be hosted by multiple cities in the country. Cida Vieira, president of the Minas Gerais state Association of Prostitutes, told Reuters learning to communicate in other languages will be extremely important for prostitutes who do not want to be taken advantage of. In English, they will learn to negotiate prices and boundaries, but also how to describe sexual fantasies and fetishes to provide better service.

The classes are “important for the dignity of the work,” says Vieira. “The women need to be able to negotiate a fair price and defend themselves.”

While proponents believe English lessons are a sensible investment in the lead-up to the World Cup, some in Brazil believe prostitutes’ time could be better spent learning to speak Portuguese, as many are immigrants and do not speak the local language. Regardless, tourism money is proving to be an effective catalyst for the education of the country’s prostitutes, many of whom are young and grew up in poverty.


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