Brazil pulls 'happy prostitute' campaign after backlash

Wed Jun 5, 2013 1:05pm EDT
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SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil's health ministry on Wednesday pulled an outreach campaign urging sex workers to use condoms after coming under fire from conservative lawmakers.

"I'm happy being a prostitute" was the slogan on a web campaign for International Prostitute Day that also encouraged sex workers to not be ashamed to seek medical treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.

The campaign was published on the health ministry's website and social media sites last weekend, and has since provoked a wave of criticism, especially from evangelical legislators in Brazil's congress.

"We are fighting childhood prostitution and here comes a campaign encouraging it," federal deputy Liliam Sá said in a recent congressional committee meeting.

Health Minister Alexandre Padilha, a rising star in the ruling Workers' Party who is expected to run for governor of São Paulo state next year, said in a Twitter post late Tuesday that the campaign had gone ahead without his authorization.

In the tweet, Padilha said the decision to scrap the campaign "came before any protests for or against it."

(Reporting by Asher Levine; Editing by Todd Benson and Vicki Allen)

A prostitute, wearing stiletto heels, waits for customers at a bar in Jaci-Parana near the Brazilian town of Porto Velho, the capital of western Amazon's Rondonia state, November 18, 2009. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes