Intrepid Traveler Plans Return to Rio de Janeiro to Debate Mega Sporting Events

Intrepid Traveler Plans Return to Rio de Janeiro to Debate Mega Sporting Events

Janine Ewen from Scotland will be attending the 2nd International Mega Events conference in the heart of Rio de Janeiro over April to present her case studies gathered from her trip to Brazil last year. Read more about her trip below.



Janine is a previous volunteer who was based in the Manguinhos favela doing health promotion work. Manguinhos is beside the Macarena stadium, and is most noted for its violence, dislocation of people from the favelas and drug dealing. She worked in health promotion while volunteering at a favela in Brazil and she conducting research around the social and physical impacts expected by sex workers from Brazil’s successful bid to be the host of the World Cup 2014.

Not only did Janine embrace harrowing realities from sex workers and sex worker focused organisations, but it became clear during the trip that the local people too were not going to be welcoming the mega event with pride. The government’s lack of attention on their own people and extreme pacification programme to “clean” parts of Brazil has hit the media rapidly for the past year, portraying a war between those in the favelas and the military police. 

Janine conducted research questionnaires and interviews that found the following;

  • Police Brutality was the biggest fear has by sex workers
  • Street primps and the police have close relationships, feeding the corruption by stealing money off sex workers, threatening clients and extreme violent attacks, especially against transgender sex workers.
  • Sex workers believed that violence would increase as a result of the World Cup 2014
  • A request to have a non-violent act or law to protect sex workers from physical abuse was suggested as a progressive move forward.
  • Sex workers don’t mind paying the police money, as long as they receive a service of protection.
  • Services that feel the World Cup 2014 would bring negative impacts for sex workers

“I don’t feel my research is original, but does it need to be? All across the globe sex workers experience human rights violations, with links back to police officers through years of research on the subject, my research just provides another platform to confirm this is still happening and does need to be addressed.”

Janine is aware there may be a case to suggest that sex workers tend to have negative experiences over mega sporting events.

“If you look at past hosting countries, there seems to be a trend on the harsh realities experienced by sex workers over mega events, relating to an increase in security. Brazil should be a focus and other upcoming 21st century events…because they are increasing n frequency.”

Janine is planning a 10 day trip, including a four day conference on mega events. This will be the 2nd International Conference on Mega Events in the heart of Rio de Janeiro. Janine submitted a 10,000 word report that was viewed by a panel and given the approval to be presented and discussed at the conference.

“When I saw my name online I was unbelievable happy. I have to say I really didn’t expect it to happen, but now I can touch on my research to a wide audience and embrace Rio once again. This is the way I want to do research, not just conducting, but communicating it in the best way I can. I am also developing a CPD learning day for the NHS Grampian Public Health team on what NGO’s in Rio are doing to tackle HIV/AIDS with little funding. It is about shared practice.”

The Second International Conference on Mega-Events and the City has as its objectives both the consolidation of this field of urban studies and the promotion of dialogue between researchers, teachers, students, and professionals from the public and private spheres, as well as human rights activists from around the world. The Conference aims to bring together those engaged in the study, planning, and promotion of mega-events, as well as in the conflicts that result from them.

Asides from this, Janine hopes to get the opportunity to do some more sightseeing of Brazil.

“I’ve probably bored people with my pictures of the trip, but Rio is so fascinating, especially the murals that cover the city. I will most definitely be taking lots of photographs again.”


To contact Janine or to find out more about her trip, follow her on Twitter @JanineEwen



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