The World Cup is supposed to be good for sex workers' wallets. Tens of thousands of fans, most of whom are men with money to spare, travel from around the planet to a single country, and history suggests that there are certain ways they might spend some of that cash (and time) when games aren't going on. But, perhaps surprisingly, sex workers aren't having an easy time of things at Brazil 2014.
"The city is crowded but didn’t help us that much. The Brazilians were more worried about drinking and eating in restaurants, while the ‘gringos’ are pigs who never want to spend money. They complain about our prices, about the hotel they have to pay ... we’re not satisfied," Bruna, who works in Fortaleza, said to UOL.
Another sex worker told the paper, "I worked for some Brazilians, but nothing close to what I imagined. We obviously raised our price, but that’s not the reason. I used to charge R$70 reais ($32 U.S. dollars), and I’m doing it for R$120 ($54 USD) now. They pay a lot more in beverages and tickets."
With sex workers allegedly pushed out of their usual haunts by police looking to crack down now that the eyes of the globe are focused on Brazil, it's even more difficult for the workers to find clients. And when they do, the World Cup crowd isn't quite as imagined.
"They came here all dirty, thinking we are obligated to go out with them. I had no idea it would be that way. They drink all day, get drunk and won’t spend money with us," Nicole said.
Fortaleza's sex workers are dreaming of a better tomorrow. In particular, they're dreaming of Germans.
"Who I really want are the Germans," added Nicole. "They are the ones with money, and they look to be really clean. We need to recover from this week’s loss."
Quotes translated by Guilherme Cruz