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The year-old, whose drug-addicted mother died on the infamous BR highway, is a working prostitute from the town where underage girls are raffled off to middle-aged men. Lying km up the highway north west and a world away from the glitter and sands of Rio de Janeiro and Copacabana beach, the town is in Bahia, one of Brazil's poorest states. Bisected by the BR, Candido Sales is clogged with trucks and heavy goods vehicles crawling by the town's bars and brothels. Sex trafficking gangs target the town and poor families are vulnerable to offers of money for their little girls. When anti-child prostitution organisation Meninadanca set up in Candido Sales two years ago, even they were surprised to find the extent of abuse of girls still of primary school age. Town council psychologist Gleyce Farias told Meninadanca, which runs the Pink House charity, that regular raffles offered the winning ticket holder a young girl as first prize. One of the "lost" young girls the Pink House workers heard about when they first arrived was Alejandra. Living with her grandparents after her alcohol and drug-affected mother died on the highway, Alejandra had turned to prostitution at a young age. Federal Highway BR or Rio-Bahia, is also nicknamed "highway of death" by truckies due to its many hijackings and accidents. It is Brazil's major highway, bringing food, electronics, cigarettes, and pharmaceuticals to Brazil's wealthiest cities including Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
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The year-old victim was unconcious during the attack, which has sparked protests calling for an end to Brazil's 'rape culture'. Police in Rio de Janiero are hunting for more than 30 men suspected of participating in the rape of a teenage girl. Two of the attackers posted pictures and video on Twitter of the assault, which has shocked the country and raised concerns over serious crime in the city. She woke up naked and wounded the next day in a strange house filled with men, with no recollection of the assault.
Ahead of the World Cup, attention is focusing on Brazil and many of its social ills. Of particular concern is the epidemic of child prostitution as the country becomes a major destination for sex tourism. The number of prostitutes, especially children, working in Brazil is increasing ahead of the World Cup.