Sexual exploitation is another cruel side of illegal mining on indigenous lands

(Foto: Bruno Kelly/HAY)
Mencius Melo – Cenarium Magazine*

BOA VISTA (RR) – The drama of the teenage girl who was co-opted by brokers for sexual exploitation, this week, is another inhuman face of illegal mining, which further reinforces the promise made by President Lula (PT), at the 52nd General Assembly of Indigenous Peoples, which took place in Raposa Serra do Sol, on Monday, 13, to end the activity on indigenous lands.

“Indigenous people have been massacred by miners. We are going to remove, definitively, the miners from indigenous lands”, communicated Lula during the event.

Since he became president, Lula has been carrying out an agenda in tune with the leaders and the demands of the Brazilian indigenous peoples (Reproduction/Ricardo Stuckert)

Last Tuesday, the 14th, a 15 year old girl was rescued by the Federal Police (PF) in the Yanomami Indigenous Land (TIY), in the State of Roraima, after being forced by agents to have up to 16 sexual relations a night in the region taken over by illegal mining. The act is considered rape by the Brazilian Penal Code (CPB). After the case, guardian counselor Franco Rocha told CENARIUM MAGAZINE that this is not an isolated crime. The Federal Police confirms a link between the crime and illegal mining.


According to information obtained by the Federal Police, the girl was co-opted in the capital of Roraima, Boa Vista, with the promise of working in the restaurant where illegal gold extraction occurs, in the indigenous land, in February.

“Regrettably, here in Roraima, there is an organized criminal network, where they manage, through social networks, mainly, to induce these adolescents, convince them in some way. They are teenagers of 14, 15, 16 and 17 years old,” declared the counselor.

Guardianship Counselor Franco Rocha (Reproduction)

According to delegate Marco Bontempo, there is a link between the crime and illegal mining. “From the initial context, we verify the existence of a logistical structure that goes through the stage of co-optation through social networks. Also, at this stage, is where the deception occurs in which these women and adolescents are co-opted by promises. […] It is one of the logistics that we must also combat, which is also what sustains mining in these indigenous regions”, said the delegate to Rede Globo.

Federal Police officers warn that there are numerous adolescents and women in the region of the Mucajaí River who are victims of sexual exploitation, and call for reinforcements for Operation Liberation, which also involves the Armed Forces, the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama), the National Public Security Force and the National Foundation of Indigenous Peoples (Funai).

Fighting illegal mining

During the event, which brought together leaders who demanded that President Lula put an immediate end to the activity in territories belonging to native peoples, the politician promised to respond to the demands of the peoples gathered there.

The event’s agenda included discussions about the protection of traditional lands, natural resource management and the indigenous movement’s agenda for the year 2023. The assembly is held by the Indigenous Council of Roraima (CIR) and, this year, took place between March 11 and 14. “I was sad because you don’t have help from the (state) government to finance your production,” said the president.

Indigenous leader David Kopenawa was one of those who called for a definitive end to illegal mining in Brazilian indigenous lands. (Reproduction/247)

“Mining is a threat to the indigenous peoples and also to the people who live in the cities,” declared Yanomami leader David Kopenawa during the meeting.


Rape is the act of forcing someone, by means of serious violence or threat, to have carnal intercourse or to perform or allow someone to perform another type of libidinous act.

According to Federal Law 12.015/2009, which changed the Brazilian Penal Code, any kind of sexual act with people under the age of 18 is considered rape. The penalty is six to ten years in prison.

(*) With the collaboration of Bianca Diniz


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