The Girls From Ipanema
Project info

Brazil is not only considered one of the five countries that receive more sex tourism, but it is also one of the largest exporters of sex, transvestites mainly to the old continent

Most transvestites in Brazil are initiated into prostitution at a young age, between 14 and 15, when they are still children. Prematurely leave the school system, and family and social rejection makes entering a complicated circle of marginalization. They approach adult transvestites to know what to do to change their appearance, and fascinated by a false "glamour", take these as their referents and counselors some of these transvestites are known as "cafetinas".


So-called "cafetinas" are those that control much of the business of prostitution in Brazil. Mainly are veteran’s transvestites who run one or more homes where house the transvestite practicing prostitution on the street, which charge what is called "a daily", an amount per day per room. Other "cafetinas" have no direct relation to the control of prostitution, but they live in some way of the girls involved in prostitution in certain areas, where they provide shelter and food, including other types of services that the trans may need.

For most young transvestite, the "cafetina" happens to be the older sister and the rest of transvestites like a family. Luana, a "cafetiña" of 54 which controls the prostitution in the central district of Lapa, told me: "I take care of the girls... even when one of them die I arrange the funeral and all the paperwork" (Luana runs 10 homes in Rio de Janeiro, with an average of 60 transvestites in total) "Here in Lapa, the girls can work quiet... no problems... if anything happens to any of them, the police come and we discussed... everything is solved... police here is very respectful to me..."

The dangers of silicone.

Most transvestites do not have financial resources when they start their physical transformation, and they are forced to turn to liquid silicone injections industrial unfit for human consumption. This, obviously, is a high-risk practice. A medium to long term this practice has serious health problems and in some cases death. The silicone hardens producing physical deformities and moves to other parts of the body, appearing large tumor bulks. The silicone injected into the breasts can cause pulmonary embolism and that of the face, cheeks and eyelids, mainly causes blindness. Many times the problems come from the malpractice appalling hygiene conditions. As Porcina commented, a transvestite 52 years old that spent 20 years being "bombardeira" (person who injected the silicone industry and do not have any training and preparation in cosmetic treatments): "I have more than 20 liters of silicone in my body that I put myself ... I have also done 10 plastic surgery ... now I'm not “bombardeira” anymore... it is very dangerous... a few years ago a trans died who I had just put silicone. Now I take part in a program that advises the girls of the dangers of industrial silicone."