Sex workers and Christians play football match in World Cup host city street

Sunday 15 June 2014 16.28
A sex worker and a tranvestite wait for clients in the streets of Belo Horizonte
A sex worker and a tranvestite wait for clients in the streets of Belo Horizonte

Brazilian prostitutes and a Christian evangelical group have played a football match in World Cup host city Belo Horizonte.

They took over a central street to raise awareness about sex workers' rights.

Gathering just after Colombia played Greece in the southeastern city, the women set up an impromptu pitch using traffic cones for goalposts and played to the cheers of onlookers.

The prostitutes, calling themselves the Naked Football Club, played in the green and yellow uniforms of Brazil.

They teamed up with the visiting evangelicals from the US to take on a local university team in a match with a message.

Player Patricia Bonges said: "Rights must be the same for everyone. We're no different from anyone else just because we're sex workers." 

Her American teammate Jenny Jack said the game was about showing that "you just love people, you don't judge, you don't change people, you just love them."

Prostitutes in Brazil have long complained of discrimination and called for the government to treat their profession like any other, including with programmes to help older sex workers.

The match was organised by the Prostitutes' Association of Minas Gerais, the state where Belo Horizonte is located.

The association has also helped some of the city's 80,000 sex workers prepare for the World Cup by offering free English classes at a local mall.