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Authorities have spent billions to ready the city, and each time tourists flocked in, local businesses braced for a bumper season. Nowhere is this clearer than in Centro, the downtown area of Rio, tucked in the shadow of the newly-constructed Olympic Boulevard.
Once home to the historic red light district, Centro has since become the beating heart of big business, with towering office blocks bearing the names of major corporations such as Petrobras, BG, Total, Chevron, Electrobras, BNDES and Vale.
And yet, a closer look at the shop fronts suggests the presence of another kind of commerce. A hidden venture. Amanda De Lisio, Bournemouth University, Author provided The Rose Without Thorn is nestled in a quiet lane, not far from the Saara — a street market that is usually crammed with pedestrians.
As an illegal brothel operating within the financial district, it survived, even thrived, alongside the decade-long Olympic facelift. But the music, which ricochets down the narrow staircase entrance and into the street, hints at something more. Inside, working-class men perch on stools, often alone with chopp Brazilian draft beer in hand, while women move throughout the house in barely-there lingerie and high-heeled shoes.
Now 24, her work is the sole source of income for her and her two children. Behind closed doors. Amanda De Lisio, Bournemouth University In Brazil, sex work has forever existed as a semi-legal, entrepreneurial pursuit for those in search of financial stability and social security. As such, places such as Rose Without Thorn operate at the discretion of law enforcement and a local elite. Post-Olympic crisis At the time, Brazil was named as the first Latin American host of an internationally-recognised sporting mega-event, and it was on the brink of economic boom.