Brazilian Bass Fishing Offers More Than A Good Catch
Brazilian bass fishing is more than big business, it’s also apparently a vehicle for child sex tourism. For the past 20 years, U.S. fishing aficionados have been spending up to $10,000 for trips to remote lodges in the interior reaches of Brazil or Venezuela. American sport tour ads are filled with promises of “uncompromising luxury” in plush jungle lodges, complete with resort-like amenities, fine dining and satellite phones to keep in hailing distance of the office.
Now a federal investigation and two related actions — a parallel criminal inquiry in Brazil and an unusual lawsuit filed in federal court in Georgia — could provide a rare look at the business operations of the multibillion-dollar international sex tour industry, which has increasingly focused on Brazil. The Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation of sports fishing expeditions in the Amazon that may have been used as covers for Americans to have sex with underage girls.
Four indigenous Brazilian women, allegedly sex trafficked as minors by an American fishing tour operator, Richard Schair, operating Wet-A-Line Tours in the Amazon for many years up until 2009, filed a lawsuit for damages in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. Initiated and coordinated by international human rights organization Equality Now, the landmark civil case will be filed by Atlanta law firm King & Spalding. The case is noteworthy because it is the first time that the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) will be used by alleged victims of trafficking to seek damages from a sex tour operation.
The four women allege an American operating fishing tours in the Amazon lured girls onto his fishing boats with the promise of earning money and that they were then given alcohol and drugs and made to perform sexual acts with male customers. All four plaintiffs were minors when they were allegedly sold for sex.