World Class Cities for All Campaign Research Report in Brazil

By StreetNet International
April 23, 2012
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StreetNet International has published a report about informal traders’ organisations in the 12 host cities of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. This report documents the quagmire of conflicting regulations and licenses that informal traders confront and the lack of interest or outright hostility of Municipal authorities towards their situation. “It is apparent that the traders’ situation is deteriorating as municipal authorities try to sweep signs of urban poverty off the streets in preparation for the World Cup’’explained Nora Wintour, Campaigns Coordinator of StreetNet International.

The research was conducted over the period May – October 2011 and was conceived as preliminary step to establishing the World Class Cities for All Campaign (WCCA) in Brazil.

The research was conceived as an “action-research” programme designed to build the capacity of informal traders’ leaders to work together within a national perspective. The researchers used a semi-structured questionnaire to carry out personal interviews with leaders of the street trader organisations. The researchers also interviews social movements, government authorities, NGOs and university departments concerned with urban planning.

The main areas of inquiry include:

  • Legal framework
  • Information about the membership, composition and organizational structure,
  • The gendered nature of the organisation,
  • The political context and allies with which they worked
  • Main demands of the different organisations,
  • The possible impact of the World Cup.

The researchers identified a total of 89 street traders’ organisations in 10 host cities. Most organisations cover specific zones in the city and are registered as associations. There is a marked fragmentation and division among the organisations. The organisations work in a relatively isolated manner at municipal level and have not developed State level coordination structures, let alone a national network

Main Challenges

  • Municipalities are not issuing new licenses to trade in the centres of the host cities. Many street traders are therefore left in a legally precarious situation, the prey to arbitrary treatment and other forms of abuse.
  • Illegality often fosters corruption with street traders’ leaders used by the police and municipal authorities to collect arbitrary payments. Such situations directly affect the capacity of the street traders’ organisations to mobilise ;
  • In some cities, there is an increase in police crackdowns against street traders, including the confiscation of their goods without compensation or return; fines, and on some occasions, there are incidents of physical violence and imprisonment.
  • The majority of traders do not have licenses and their needs are not taken into consideration by the public authorities; and there are often acute divisions between traders who possess licenses and those who do not.

Main Demands

  • The main demand of all the organisations is to have a safe, permanent workplace, with a license, issued by the municipal authorities, whether on the streets or in a popular shopping centre. They want legal and social recognition that they have the right to trade in public spaces in order to earn an income for themselves and their families.

StreetNet International will be writing to all the 12 municipalities, which are World Cup host cities, requesting that they enter into a dialogue with the representative organisations of informal traders with a view to improving existing regulations and providing them with appropriate sites.

The study was carried out by three researchers, Emily de Andrade Costa, Marina Brito and Maira Vanucchi, who counted on technical support from Luciana Itikawa of the Gaspar Garcia Centre for Human Rights and Sonia Dias, WIEGO. The project was coordinated by the StreetNet International campaigns coordinator, Nora Wintour.

For more information contact:

Sharon Pillay
Media and Publicity Officer
+27 72 2577 317

Maira Vanucchi, Brazil
StreetNet Consultant

Nora Wintour
StreetNet, Campaigns Coordinator

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