Carmen Bascarán Center for the Defense of Life and Human Rights – CDVCH / CB – Maranhão
Provita case, Açailândia: A Força das Pequenas (The strength of small women)
Objetivos e público prioritário
Contribute to the eradication of sexual exploitation of children and adolescents and support the V.E.R. in the reconstruction of their life project.
- Legal advising.
- Social assistance – Support for the reconstruction of the victim’s life project.
- Increasing social/political awareness, as well as the awareness on the sexual exploitation of children.
Based on a complaint filed in 2007 by the Maranhão Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Judiciary condemned seven men for involvement in the sexual exploitation of two girls. The episode was known as “PROVITA case”. V.E.R., now 25 years old, was the victim of sexual exploitation in 2005 when she was 13 years old. At the time, she was persuaded by an “agent” to “go out” with much older men in Açailândia-MA and later in other cities. The situation lasted for about eight months until the guardianship council of Açailândia rescued the girls. During the investigations, a list with telephone numbers and names of dozens of influential men in the city, which belonged to an “agent”, was apprehended. Some of these men were recognized by the victims as being the ones who had had sex with them. In 2016, six defendants were convicted to eight years in prison based on article 217-A of the Penal Code. The “agent” was also sentenced to 3 years and 6 months in prison based on article 244-A of the ECA (Child and Adolescent Statute). All the defendants appealed for their acquittal. V.E.R. also appealed aiming at increasing the sentences and escalating the regime to which they were sentenced. The police inquiry and the whole process has caused the victims to fear for their lives and physical integrity, once they suffered death threats. As soon as they were rescued, they had to leave the city and, when they were included in the Program for the Protection of Victims and Threatened Witnesses (PROVITA), they had to break ties and any other type of connection with their relatives and hide their own identities. V.E.R never felt safe enough as to go back to her hometown and still struggles to build her life elsewhere. However, both in the inquisitorial phase and in the course of the criminal action (established in 2007) she has always told the same story, describing the facts in a consistent manner and appointing those responsible. As of 2010, V.E.R. has counted on the support of a pro-bono lawyer and social worker, linked to CDVDHCB. As a result, she was able to act as an assistant to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in criminal proceedings, which helped to convict the accused in 2016.
About the organization
The Center for the Defense of Life and Human Rights Carmen Bascarán was founded in 1996 in Açailândia/MA by a group of people from grassroots communities who decided to organize against the human rights violations identified in the region. Even though the CDVDH/CB is best known for its fight against slave labor, it also works fighting the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents.
- Municipal Council for the Rights of Children and Adolescents of Açailândia - COMUCAA.
- Municipal Forum on the Rights of Children and Adolescents - DCA Forum.
- State Council for the Rights of Children and Adolescents - CEDCA / MA.
- Citizenship Network.
Strategic Litigation (2017)
R$ 80 mil
The rights of children and adolescents