Ruby and Aline, colleagues for almost a decade in Vila Mimosa, talk about what it was like to work over World Cup.
I’m not going to lie. World Cup was not good for us. It wasn’t. Look, there weren’t a lot of gringos in Vila Mimosa during the day, and the gringos who showed up at night are more the kind of gringo from humble circumstances that sleeps in a tent. They have practically no money.
Business was down for sex workers across Rio during World Cup, but Vila Mimosa was the hardest hit, a phenomenon the Observatory of Prostitution unpacks in our World Cup report of preliminary findings. (Also available in Portuguese).
Ruby also talks about the intense presence of police over World Cup:
It’s so safe here, there are thousands of police. Shame it was only for World Cup. They could distribute in all the neighborhoods that need them. I don’t know how they managed to have so many police for World Cup. They had the army on the streets. The security was excellent during World Cup. Unfortunately World Cup is gone and so is our security and it’s all going to start again. Getting robbed on the street, my friend here was just telling me she was assaulted.
Ruby’s perspective on her sense of safety is at odds with Ani’s complaints of police in Vila Mimosa during World Cup. (Click here to watch Ani’s interview). One possible explanation for their different experiences is that Ani, also a veteran in Vila Mimosa, works nights until dawn, whereas Ruby only works in the mornings.
Ruby and Aline also share experiences of working the street, and Ruby explains why she prefers working in Vila Mimosa:
If there’s a problem here, and there are problems everywhere, we know it will be resolved. And in the street? Get it? The street is really dangerous. Especially for someone my age. I don’t like to run, I can’t run.
Ruby ran away from home when she was twelve to get away from her mother’s sexually abusive boyfriend and started working as a prostitute while she was a teenager. She had a stint doing domestic labor when she had her first son, but she never received payment, and went back to Vila Mimosa. (WATCH)
Three weeks into World Cup, on the day of the Argentina vs Belgium quarterfinal, I met Ani, Aline’s colleague in Vila Mimosa for the last ten years. Ani works the night shift from 6pm to 6am, and often leaves as Aline is showing up to work the early morning. (WATCH)