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According to the former bartender, Limas, in his time at the venue, police payoffs were regular, and information on raids was always relayed ahead of time.
Says Blanchette, “our informants are clear about one thing: if you want to run a in Rio, you have to have police partners.” Vila, the red light district, is equally unperturbed by police, but for much different reasons.
ocated a mile from the city’s storied Maracana stadium, and surrounded by cracked and empty streets ridden with sloppy trash, stinking sewage and the bombed-out-looking shell of at least one four-door sedan, Vila Mimosa, staunchly defiant — for 100 years, its been shuffled, evicted and walled-up — hides in plain sight.
Tales From the Millennials’ Sexual Revolution In Brazil, prostitution is technically legal.
The official governing body here is staffed by former sex workers who now own the properties.
In turn, they’re widely assumed to be operating under the blessing of the local chapter of the “militia,” Brazil’s widespread, much-feared network of corrupt current and former police officers.
meet Ruvolo in Vila at a lavender house with a wide New Orleans-style porch populated by wrought-iron chairs with floral tops, a peacock tapestry and several women in their thirties and forties in high heels and frilly lingerie.
This is where her friend Aline, a 12-year Vila veteran, is working today.
“But perhaps in [the authorities’] head, there was a moral motive.” A place like Centaurus — which makes no effort to hide, decorating its front entrance with a giant, glorious rendering of its titular half-man half-horse — is blatantly illegal.
My point of contact here, Julie Ruvolo — a reporter and ally in the fight for sex workers’ rights — says that in all her years working in and reporting from Vila Mimosa, she’s never seen an on-duty cop.
It’s a calm place, but with distinct undertones of danger: several anthropologists have stopped doing field work here after receiving death threats.
On May 29th of this year, the place was busted again.
Both times, it returned to full operation within weeks.
There were displays of lavish grandiosity: Limas says that after Brazil claimed ultimate victory in the 2002 World Cup, one of the team’s soccer gods, known for a famously healthy sexual appetite, shut the place down to have his own private party (extra decoration that night: a giant photo of the player’s head).