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Share this article Share Around a million transgender people live in Brazil, but many of them face deep-seated prejudice and resort to selling sex just to earn a living. She meets Barbara, a successful dancer and the first transgender woman to lead the Rio Carnival. However despite her fame, Barbara admits that she struggled to make ends meet once the parade is over. Stacey Dooley meets club owner Oscar Maroni pictured who owns 33 apartments with mirrored walls which he rents out to prostitutes Barbara's life may appear glamorous to an outsider but she has to support her grandmother with whom she lives with in a working class neighborhood on the outskirts of Rio.
With 90 per cent of transgender women turning to sex work Barbara reveals there is not often another option. We don't have enough to eat at home or we haven't paid a bill so I'll go because its the only choice I have. He laughed at me and said "Barbara, you don't look like a cleaner. We want social equality. Transgender Barbara said people in Brazil think she should do sex work because 'its a label' transpeople have been given Stacey discovers that the biological women face just as many difficulties on a regular basis.
She visits Rio's red light district Villa Mimosa where up to a thousand girls work every night controlled by a local armed militia who operate above the law. The documentary takes a look inside one of the bars where the girls operate with the owner letting out ten rooms in 20 minute slots to the women.
Stacey meets a mother-of-three children who she cares for during the week before heading to Villa Mimosa at the weekend. She explains that she was once sleeping with up to 30 different men a night in the bar's cramped conditions in order to live, but the bar's owner Carla says that working within her building is far safer than if they were to walk the streets.
She said: 'If this place were to lose its license the girls would go onto the streets risking their lives and putting up with a load of shit they might even die because clients on the street do whatever they want with women but here they feel safe. The building houses 33 apartments walled with mirrors where clients can be entertained by the women who work there. Stacey Dooley, who presents the programme on BBC Three, met two male sex workers who got hands on Oscar, who was unable to attend the original BBC3 interview because he was 'having a threesome', views his establishment as the Disneyland of prostitution.