ECPAT Supporting Marginalised Youth in Brazil

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An intervention aimed at targeting marginalised transsexual young people to help prevent commercial sexual exploitation.

Type of intervention

Mentoring, counselling, peer support

Target groups, level of prevention and subgroups

  • Children and Young People (Victims) | Secondary prevention | Young People (11-17 years), Young Adults (18-20 years), Adults (21+ years) | Male and female | Mentoring, counselling, peer support | Spanish

Target population

Adolescents and young transsexuals aged 16-25 years, who are involved in or at risk of commercial sexual exploitation (CSEC).

Delivery organisation

ECPAT Brazil.

Mode and context of delivery

Focus is on preventing commercial child sexual exploitation through a combination of strategies (see description below), including involving young transsexual people as social educators.

Level/nature of staff expertise required

Social educators employed by NGO with outreach, youth work, advocacy and counselling skills (qualifications not known), working with health care providers and with educational professionals. Young transsexuals who are given opportunities to develop the skills to lead aspects of the work themselves.

Intensity/extent of engagement with target group(s)

Multiple strategies are used to enable young transsexuals to leave CSEC over course of around a year.

Description of intervention

A research study in 2008 identified a strong association between transsexual young people and involvement in CSEC in an impoverished area of Brazil. Discrimination and lack of employment opportunities were identified as factors which led young transsexuals to engage in paid sex. ECPAT designed and implemented a multi-strategy intervention with the aim of supporting these adolescents to rebuild their lives and leave sexual exploitation behind. Outreach work was carried out by social educators to identify potential victims and to build trusting relationships with them, which respected and recognised the identity adopted by the transsexuals. In parallel, work was undertaken to raise awareness of and sensitise the public to the issues. A key aspect of the approach was to reintegrate the marginalised young people through addressing the issues they faced, building their skills and providing them with opportunities to become social educators themselves. Peer counselling was provided to discuss issues such as family, sexuality, gender and violence. Life skills training was provided. The project worked with educational institutions to enable the young people to access professional and vocational training. Opportunities for social interaction and recreation were provided. As a result of the programme, 40% of young people left sexual exploitation within a year. A key reason for this was that they could generate an income for themselves without being paid for sex.


40% of young transsexuals left CSEC within a year of the programme. ECPAT International and Young People (2012), Youth Journal. Youth Partnership Programme. Empowering child survivors and at risk youth against commercial sexual exploitation. See website


  • ECPAT International and young people (2012) Youth Journal. Youth Partnership Programme. Empowering child survivors and at risk youth against commercial sexual exploitation.
  • For a wide variety of papers and resources on the prevention of CSEC see ECPAT's website:
  • Promundo U.S. (2011) Toward a better future for this generation and the next....a report for Oak Foundation on male engagement in the protection of children from child sexual abuse. See website: or

Contact details

Juanitau Upadhyay
ECPAT International Bangkok, Thailand.
+662 215 3388

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RATING: Pioneering

Information correct at November 2018