There is a big checklist to be done before travelling or moving to a foreign country. But some laws in your destination might be different from the ones of your native country. Some Brazilian laws are more conservative than in European or North American countries. In the following list I’ve compiled the ones that might affect you as a tourist. As in any developing country, some of them are more enforced than others. However, as a tourist, specially if you don’t speak the language, it’s advisable to stick to the rules.
The law: Hunting is forbidden in Brazil. The only exception made is in the case of hunting for subsistence.
Why: The aim of this law is to protect traditional values and the rich Brazilian fauna and flora. Isolated and semi isolated tribes are still a reality in the country as it is the traffic of fauna and flora along our vast and hard to monitor Amazon borders. So if you are not from a native tribe and will hunt only for eating, just don’t hunt at all. Just don’t.
The law: To have sex with someone for money is legal, but to profit from the prostitution of others or operating brothels is illegal. The profession is, however, not regulated, which means that the professionals are not obliged to take periodic exams.
Why: As it happens in many countries, the decriminalisation of prostitution aims to remove the blame from the sex workers, who are often victims of complicated social situations. If you are looking to hire this service in the country, it is advisable to be extra careful to ensure that you are not giving your money to criminals.
The law: Casinos are forbidden in Brazil since 1946. In 2004, the prohibition was extended to bingos and slot machines. On cruises, the ships have to shut down their casinos when entering Brazilian waters.
Why: Gambling is seen by the law as an addiction.
The law: This is probably one of the weirdest ones. In many Brazilian cities it is forbidden to use mobiles inside bank agencies.
Why: Safety. This law aims to avoid crimes in which the criminal sees someone withdrawing a large amount of money and calls his partner, who will be waiting outside to rob the victim.
The law: Smoking marijuana is illegal, but it won’t get you into jail if you are carrying an amount for your own consumption. Carrying a big amount will be considered drug traffic which results in 5 to 15 years in prison.
Why: The law aims to decriminalize the drug user in general.
The law: According to Brazilian laws, the age of consent for sex is 14 years old. Engaging in sexual activities with any person under that age is seen as rape of vulnerable person. Breaking this law results in 8 to 15 years in prison.
Why: As in many other countries, the law aims to protect the children.
The law: Yes, in the country of Carnival and small bikinis, it is not a good idea to go topless. There is no law that forbids explicitly women from taking off their shirts, but it can be interpreted as public indecency, which is a crime.
Why: Brazil is still considerably religious and a lot of values from Catholisism are still surrounding the way some laws were made. However, feminists from the country have been protesting for the legalization of toplessness. It is really rare to see a woman going topless in Brazilian beaches. The practice of public breastfeeding is seen as natural by the law and society.
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