CNN interviewed Romila Aparacida Ferreira, who claims an Embassy van ran her over after the Embassy Marines and an unnamed diplomatic person threw her out of the vehicle after negotiating a price for sex.
The official State Department version of events reflects much, much better on the United States:
“My understanding is that she (Ferreira) was initially in the car, she was asked to leave the car, she got out of the car, the doors were closed, as the Pentagon guy said, the vehicle was at rest, and then, as they started to drive away, she chased after the car, tried to get back in and that’s when she was hurt,” said spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. “I do not have that she was run over by the car.”
Well, we can all breathe a sigh of relief.
Now Brazil is an important country for the US, a huge source of tourism (their economy is not in shambles like ours and it is Brazilian tourists who are basically keeping Disney World afloat at present). The US has already enhanced tourism by raising the price of a visa to America to $160 a pop. Brazilian tourists are also required to make an appointment, fill in an application online that, among other things, asks them if they are a terrorist or a prostitute, stand in line at the Embassy, have their fingerprints taken for freedom and be photographed and interviewed. After that, their money is welcome in America. Ms. Romila Aparacida Ferreira is unlikely to qualify as a former prostitute, so any money she gets from the Embassy is not going to be spent in the US of A.
It is not like whoring around abroad is limited to Brazil. Ace blog Diplopundit wins the day with a post on all things prostitution over at the State Department, including a sampling of diplomats disciplined for whoring around, one apparently with a 13 year old paid for sexy time fun fun fun.
Please note that these State Department prostitution cases are wholly separate from any State Department employee sex tapes, or any State Department employee Playboy pictures or any State Department employee pedophile cases or any Secret Service prostitution cases you’ve read about in Columbia and El Salvador.
It is also safe to say that no prostitutes anywhere look or act like Julia Roberts in the movie “Pretty Woman,” nor do any of the Foreign Service buyers resemble Richard Gere.
A report released by the London-based non-governmental group Social Change for Education in the Middle East (SCEME) hopes to change that. Entitled Karamatuna, or Our Dignity, the study highlights the plight of girls as young as 10 who have been trafficked from post-war Iraq into countries including Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia for sexual exploitation.
While sexual exploitation existed in Iraq, as anywhere, long before the war began in 2003, “the invasion and instability that followed led to an environment where young women and girls became much more vulnerable to trafficking,” the report says. One Iraqi non-governmental organization, the Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq, estimates that about 4,000 women, one fifth of them aged under 18, disappeared in the first seven years after the war. Although hard data is hard to come by, the group’s research suggests many were trafficked by criminal gangs nationally or internationally, or sold into forced marriage by their own families in need of money once Iraq’s internal economy collapsed in the post-invasion violence.
Oh yes, why not? As if this war could not get more depressing. The chaos unleashed by the US invasion tore apart the civil societal fabric of Iraq, overnight changing a country used to authoritarian rule into a complete lawless free-for-all. OK, sorry about that Iraq, but at least we got rid of Saddam for ya’, right? Right? C’mon, cheer up, it’s almost Christmas season!
Read the full report.
(The photo above illustrates a woman reduced to begging in central Baghdad, not prostitution, so it’s OK)