Favela tours scam

Rio_de_Janeiro-favela-tours-rip_offThe slums of Rio De Janeiro are notoriously dangerous, especially for tourists and basically anybody from outside. These so-called favelas are infested with drug addicts desperate for a fix and drugs dealers armed and ready to protect their domain, while stabbings and shootings between competing gangs are an everyday phenomenon. The police is known to be afraid to enter to deep into the favelas, meaning they are run by the Brazilian Mafia instead of the government. However, in anticipation of the 2014 Soccer World Cup in Brazil and for the annual carnival, the police, in cooperation with the army have swept a handful of these favelas clean and keep a tight grip on them, just to keep up appearances for foreign visitors from all over the world.

During the period before and after the carnival, tourists can book guided tours into these favelas. The tour operators offering tourists a ride in the back of an open pick-up truck or inside a coach bus claim that this tour gives the participants a look at the circumstances in which the largest part of the city’s inhabitants live on a daily basis. Of course, the tour only shows a facade and in no way resembles anything like the real life inside the favelas.

Rio_de_Janeiro-favela-tours-scamAlso, be aware that half of the ticket price is paid as protection to the gangs that control the favelas. When asked, the tour operators will tell you that some money is paid to the people of the favelas to support them and their families in their everyday life, but the truth is that it is paid to the local gangs to protect the guided favela tours from being robbed or kidnapped. This way, criminal organizations make millions off the tourists taking a propaganda tour claimed to show the poverty in the slums of Rio, while the favela residents who actually could use the money, won’t see a penny of it.

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