The Brazilian Health Ministry dropped a campaign aimed at reducing prejudice against sex workers after critics said it glorified prostitution.
The message was being tested on the ministry’s website but was not meant to be published. It was aimed to encourage prostitutes to get treated for STIs.
“I do not think this is a message the ministry should be sending,” said Health Minister Alexandre Padilha. He added that the operation had gone ahead without his approval.
Authorities at the federal and state level have promised to address the problem.
The message is part of a larger program to educate people about sexually transmitted diseases, for which the Brazilian government has generally been praised.
The main concern is Brazil’s sex tourism industry, which Pahilha fears will attract young boys and girls who entering to escape poverty. Liliam Sá, a federal deputy, was outraged by its promotion of child prostitution.
"For as long as I remain in office an ad like that will not be part of our campaigns,” Pahilha said.
Pressed to revise their campaign, the Health Ministry choose to re-title it “Not afraid to use a condom” and removed the “happy prostitute” reference.