The Cover Up Unravels
This week the Human Rights Secretariat of the state of Bahia began their own investigation into our claims that young girls were being raffled in the town of Encruzilhada.

Last week we came under an orchestrated attack by authorities in the region in an attempt to discredit the story and cover up the scandal.

Both the police and prosecution service claimed the case was nothing more than a "bad taste joke" and said the case had been closed. You can read the MailOnline report here, and what happened last week here.

However, within just days the truth of this horrendous crime - and the shameless attempt to hide it - is starting to come out.

Today, Admar Fontes, the director of the Human Rights Secretariat, issued a statement saying that their investigation had so far discovered that over 100 men took part in the raffles, which were well known in the region.

He said men came from the town of Encruzilhada, as well as any other towns in the surrounding region.

He told: "A lot of people are involved. We will find them, and we will also hear from the children involved in this case, and find out what is their social and family situation."

He added that the secretariat will make a formal request to the public prosecution service, demanding action to protect the victims and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Without our intervention, this disturbing case in a remote rural municipality cut through by the BR-116 would have been forgotten - but now there is a real chance that justice might be done.

The case has also started a national debate about the prevalence and impunity of child sexual exploitation in the remote parts of Brazil where Meninadança works - which is exactly what we had hoped for.

Commenting on the case in the Folha de Sao Paulo, Brazil's most respected newspaper, this morning, the director of a woman's rights organisation said: "This region is extremely worrying, because historicallymany cases of sexual exploitation of children and adolescents are recorded. It's a complicated region with respect to justice. Everyone is afraid."

And the director of a state council for the rights of children, commented: "There are cases and more cases of sexual exploitation of girls aged 11, 12, by politicians, landowneres and businessmen in various municipalities of Bahia. The stories which don't come to light are not investigated as they should be because the families are rewarded with houses and jobs, to remain silent."

Meninadança is committed to being the voice of these silent victims.

We are hoping to begin our centre in Cândido Sales (20 miles away from Encruzilhada) at the beginning of next year - but we still need partners who can commit to giving a small amount per month to make the project happen.

Please, if you can get on board and be the answer to the cries for help of so many young girls in this extremely needy area of Brazil, reply to this email, and we'll be in touch.

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