......................................................................................................................................................................................................................
  The language classroom in Sao Paulo's Capital Penitentiary for Women, where women from over 30 countries are held. The largest                               numbers come from South Africa, then South America, followed by former Portuguese colonies in Africa such as Angola, Cape Verde                           and Mozambique. Many also come from Europe and Asia.

The language classroom in Sao Paulo's Capital Penitentiary for Women, where women from over 30 countries are held. The largest                               numbers come from South Africa, then South America, followed by former Portuguese colonies in Africa such as Angola, Cape Verde                           and Mozambique. Many also come from Europe and Asia.

   
  
 
  
    
  
 Normal 
 0 
 
 
 
 
 false 
 false 
 false 
 
 EN-GB 
 JA 
 X-NONE 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
    
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
   
 
 /* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-priority:99;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin:0cm;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	font-size:10.0pt;
	font-family:Cambria;}
 
     

 

  Most female drug mules come from poor families from other continents. It is unlikely they will ever receive a visit during their time in                         prison. They have the right to two phone calls a year. This difficulty of communication with their families is responsible for many of the                 women being on anti-depressants.

Most female drug mules come from poor families from other continents. It is unlikely they will ever receive a visit during their time in                         prison. They have the right to two phone calls a year. This difficulty of communication with their families is responsible for many of the                 women being on anti-depressants.

  “When they give you the yellow pants and white T-shirt, that is the moment you realise you are actually in prison. When                                they take your clothes and your belongings, you feel like everything is gone, your identity and your life.”     Bulgarian prisoner,                              Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, Brazil.

“When they give you the yellow pants and white T-shirt, that is the moment you realise you are actually in prison. When                                they take your clothes and your belongings, you feel like everything is gone, your identity and your life.” Bulgarian prisoner,                              Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, Brazil.

  “They assured me everything would be fine because they had a good relationship with the police at the airport in Brazil.”                              This   Portuguese girl, of Cape Verde descent, was tricked by a friend into taking her place as a   drug mule on a trip to Brazil. It was the                            first time she had ever seen drugs. She has been in prison for 10 months and is still awaiting her sentence.

“They assured me everything would be fine because they had a good relationship with the police at the airport in Brazil.”                            This Portuguese girl, of Cape Verde descent, was tricked by a friend into taking her place as a drug mule on a trip to Brazil. It was the                            first time she had ever seen drugs. She has been in prison for 10 months and is still awaiting her sentence.

  A Filipino girl arrives at her cell block on her first day at Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, carrying what are now her only                     possessions: a foam mattress and a spare set of prison clothes. She has been arrested at Sao Paulo Guarulhos International airport                             for smuggling cocaine.

A Filipino girl arrives at her cell block on her first day at Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, carrying what are now her only                     possessions: a foam mattress and a spare set of prison clothes. She has been arrested at Sao Paulo Guarulhos International airport                             for smuggling cocaine.

  “When I arrived here at the prison, it was like I was waking up from a dream. I looked back at everything that had happened                           in the last week and I thought, how could I have been so stupid? I don’t know even until today why I did it. This is the most                         difficult thing, to forgive yourself, to make peace.”   This Hungarian woman was persuaded to travel to Brazil by her Nigerian lover.                           In Sao Paulo she was given padded pants to wear to conceal the diamonds she was asked to carry. Concerned that they didn’t appear                         to be diamonds, she challenged the man but was assured the stones were packed in sand. A police search at the airport revealed                                 she was wearing 3 kilos of cocaine. Although she tried to give the police the name of the person who gave her the drugs they were not                   interested. She has served 1 year and 7 months of her 5 years and 10 months sentence.

“When I arrived here at the prison, it was like I was waking up from a dream. I looked back at everything that had happened                           in the last week and I thought, how could I have been so stupid? I don’t know even until today why I did it. This is the most                         difficult thing, to forgive yourself, to make peace.” This Hungarian woman was persuaded to travel to Brazil by her Nigerian lover.                           In Sao Paulo she was given padded pants to wear to conceal the diamonds she was asked to carry. Concerned that they didn’t appear                         to be diamonds, she challenged the man but was assured the stones were packed in sand. A police search at the airport revealed                                 she was wearing 3 kilos of cocaine. Although she tried to give the police the name of the person who gave her the drugs they were not                   interested. She has served 1 year and 7 months of her 5 years and 10 months sentence.

  “We look ok, we sound ok but we are not, we are really hurting inside. Every night, once the doors are locked we cry,                           because we have destroyed our lives and our children’s lives and robbed ourselves of our freedom.”   South African prisoner,                           Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, Brazil.

“We look ok, we sound ok but we are not, we are really hurting inside. Every night, once the doors are locked we cry,                           because we have destroyed our lives and our children’s lives and robbed ourselves of our freedom.” South African prisoner,                           Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, Brazil.

  A former heroin addict, this Spanish woman and her husband decided to smuggle cocaine home when on holiday in Brazil. The                                     person they bought the drugs from was already being watched by the police, so they never even made it to the airport, they were                             arrested on the way there. They are awaiting papers from Spain to prove they are drug users because Brazilian law makes an                             allowance for users, often reducing their sentence.

A former heroin addict, this Spanish woman and her husband decided to smuggle cocaine home when on holiday in Brazil. The                                     person they bought the drugs from was already being watched by the police, so they never even made it to the airport, they were                             arrested on the way there. They are awaiting papers from Spain to prove they are drug users because Brazilian law makes an                             allowance for users, often reducing their sentence.

  Luz Mercedes, from Peru, is in prison for the second time in Brazil for drug trafficking. She made her first trip as a drug mule at the                                 age of 18 from Peru to USA via Mexico and continued to carry drugs ever since, employing other girls to work for her as well.                                       Always well dressed, the police never looked in her bags, which were full of shampoo bottles containing cocaine. She was caught                                   because of a badly made fake passport, which she hadn’t taken the time to check. She has served 1 year and 3 months of an 8 years                           sentence.

Luz Mercedes, from Peru, is in prison for the second time in Brazil for drug trafficking. She made her first trip as a drug mule at the                                 age of 18 from Peru to USA via Mexico and continued to carry drugs ever since, employing other girls to work for her as well.                                       Always well dressed, the police never looked in her bags, which were full of shampoo bottles containing cocaine. She was caught                                   because of a badly made fake passport, which she hadn’t taken the time to check. She has served 1 year and 3 months of an 8 years                           sentence.

  A cell at Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, meant for one person but which houses three. Two people sleep on the floor.

A cell at Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, meant for one person but which houses three. Two people sleep on the floor.

   “Before I traveled, I prayed and said ‘Lord, this is not for me. It’s for my family. I don’t care about myself."    Divorced from her                               husband, this Filipino woman was the sole provider for three generations of family. She worked for 10 years abroad looking after other                           people’s children while her own were growing up without her. Her son then became a father to three children and she struggled to                                 support them all. A friend who was involved in drug trafficking suggested she work for her, desperate to get home for Christmas, the                             first in 12 years, she agreed to make a trip. She has served 1 year and 3 months of a 5 years and 3 months sentence. While in prison                           her ex-husband has become more responsible towards their children and two of her four brothers have found jobs.

“Before I traveled, I prayed and said ‘Lord, this is not for me. It’s for my family. I don’t care about myself." Divorced from her                             husband, this Filipino woman was the sole provider for three generations of family. She worked for 10 years abroad looking after other                           people’s children while her own were growing up without her. Her son then became a father to three children and she struggled to                                 support them all. A friend who was involved in drug trafficking suggested she work for her, desperate to get home for Christmas, the                             first in 12 years, she agreed to make a trip. She has served 1 year and 3 months of a 5 years and 3 months sentence. While in prison                           her ex-husband has become more responsible towards their children and two of her four brothers have found jobs.

  Two pairs of yellow pants and two white T-shirts are the only clothes given to new arrivals at the prison. Pyjamas, underwear and                             shoes have to be bought at an inflated price from Brazilian inmates whose families visit at weekends and import tradable goods.                                 These are affordable only once the new arrival has found work in the prison, which can take around 4 months.

Two pairs of yellow pants and two white T-shirts are the only clothes given to new arrivals at the prison. Pyjamas, underwear and                             shoes have to be bought at an inflated price from Brazilian inmates whose families visit at weekends and import tradable goods.                                 These are affordable only once the new arrival has found work in the prison, which can take around 4 months.

  Joyce Macina from South Africa was arrested in Sao Paulo Guarulhos airport for a false passport and attempting to smuggle in over                               the US$40,000 limit. She was freed halfway through her sentence due to declining health. Weakened by illnesses associated with                             HIV she struggled to find work and accommodation outside prison. when she ran out of money, she tried to smuggle cocaine out of                             the country to finance her way home. She was arrested and sent back to prison only 6 months after she had left, but has since been                             freed again and sent home on compassionate grounds because of her health.

Joyce Macina from South Africa was arrested in Sao Paulo Guarulhos airport for a false passport and attempting to smuggle in over                               the US$40,000 limit. She was freed halfway through her sentence due to declining health. Weakened by illnesses associated with                             HIV she struggled to find work and accommodation outside prison. when she ran out of money, she tried to smuggle cocaine out of                             the country to finance her way home. She was arrested and sent back to prison only 6 months after she had left, but has since been                             freed again and sent home on compassionate grounds because of her health.

  Prisoners work long hours in the kitchen and in several prison based factories at Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, earning                               around $150 a month and remission off their sentences. It is just enough to buy toiletries and other necessities but not enough to                                   save for an air ticket home at the end of their sentences.

Prisoners work long hours in the kitchen and in several prison based factories at Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, earning                               around $150 a month and remission off their sentences. It is just enough to buy toiletries and other necessities but not enough to                                   save for an air ticket home at the end of their sentences.

   "Without even thinking of the risk or of what drugs really are, I said yes, because I just couldn’t handle it anymore, my                               situation was so bad. It was all about surviving and I wasn’t surviving. I didn’t like leaving my kids but I just thought, for                                   their benefit, I have to go.”    A bad marriage to a foreigner found this woman and her three daughters returning home to South Africa                         with nothing. Finding it impossible to get work after her employment gap and uncomfortable with continually accepting help from her                         sister who they were living with, she decided to make a trip as a drug mule, telling her children she had a job interview abroad. She                               spoke to them for the first time 7 months after arriving in prison. They are being cared for by her sister as well as her own four children.

"Without even thinking of the risk or of what drugs really are, I said yes, because I just couldn’t handle it anymore, my                               situation was so bad. It was all about surviving and I wasn’t surviving. I didn’t like leaving my kids but I just thought, for                                   their benefit, I have to go.” A bad marriage to a foreigner found this woman and her three daughters returning home to South Africa                         with nothing. Finding it impossible to get work after her employment gap and uncomfortable with continually accepting help from her                         sister who they were living with, she decided to make a trip as a drug mule, telling her children she had a job interview abroad. She                               spoke to them for the first time 7 months after arriving in prison. They are being cared for by her sister as well as her own four children.

  “I knew there was a risk of prison but I never really thought about it because I knew a lot of people who had traveled and                                   had swallowed.”   This Spanish woman and her husband swallowed 300g of cocaine in capsules. She is still awaiting sentence after                             a year in prison.

“I knew there was a risk of prison but I never really thought about it because I knew a lot of people who had traveled and                                   had swallowed.” This Spanish woman and her husband swallowed 300g of cocaine in capsules. She is still awaiting sentence after                             a year in prison.

  This Russian girl was asked by a Nigerian friend to travel to Brazil to collect precious stones. In Sao Paulo she was given a pair of                                 padded pants, but feeling suspicious of their content, she questioned whether they were in fact holding drugs. Her daughter’s life was                             threatened and she was forced to wear them. As she arrived at the airport, she was approached by an undercover policeman, who,                               tipped off by an anonymous phone call, knew immediately where to look for the drugs. She has served 1 year and 7 months of a 5                           years and 8 months sentence.

This Russian girl was asked by a Nigerian friend to travel to Brazil to collect precious stones. In Sao Paulo she was given a pair of                                 padded pants, but feeling suspicious of their content, she questioned whether they were in fact holding drugs. Her daughter’s life was                             threatened and she was forced to wear them. As she arrived at the airport, she was approached by an undercover policeman, who,                               tipped off by an anonymous phone call, knew immediately where to look for the drugs. She has served 1 year and 7 months of a 5                           years and 8 months sentence.

   “When I was arrested at the airport, I told the police my story. They laughed and opened a cabinet full of papers and said                                     ‘these are all the same story as yours, so why should we believe you?’”    Helena Kalbacova, from Czech Republic, was                           approached by a stranger with a proposition to travel abroad as his translator. Unknown to her, he had agreed to bring drugs back                           from Brazil and had been told it would be safer to travel as a couple. She became suspicious when their plans kept changing.                                       When they got to the airport in Sao Paulo the police were already waiting for them. Because Helena spoke English, the judge decided                       that she must have been the one who organised the trip and so sentenced them accordingly; 6 years for her and 4 years and 6 months                       for him. She has served 3 years 8 months and he has just been released.    

“When I was arrested at the airport, I told the police my story. They laughed and opened a cabinet full of papers and said                                 ‘these are all the same story as yours, so why should we believe you?’” Helena Kalbacova, from Czech Republic, was                           approached by a stranger with a proposition to travel abroad as his translator. Unknown to her, he had agreed to bring drugs back                           from Brazil and had been told it would be safer to travel as a couple. She became suspicious when their plans kept changing.                                       When they got to the airport in Sao Paulo the police were already waiting for them. Because Helena spoke English, the judge decided                       that she must have been the one who organised the trip and so sentenced them accordingly; 6 years for her and 4 years and 6 months                       for him. She has served 3 years 8 months and he has just been released.

 

  “We don’t know what the future holds for us. You get up each morning hoping that this day is better than the last and if its                         not, you take it as it is. And you just pray everyday that the kids are fine. You only have God in a place like this, nothing else.”                     South African prisoner, Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, Brazil.

“We don’t know what the future holds for us. You get up each morning hoping that this day is better than the last and if its                         not, you take it as it is. And you just pray everyday that the kids are fine. You only have God in a place like this, nothing else.”                   South African prisoner, Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, Brazil.

  “They give us such long sentences that you think you will never see your family again.”  This South African, single mother of                           two, is on a weekend break out of prison at the Baptist church’s Casa Recomeço ‘new beginning’ shelter for prisoners. Struggling to                             support her own mother and four siblings with her restaurant job she accepted an offer to go to Brazil to smuggle drugs. Eight                                         members of her family have died since she has been in prison. She hasn’t spoken to her mother for many months and is worried                           something may have happened to her but none of her family is telling her. She has served 2 years and 6 months of her 5 years and                             10 months sentence.

“They give us such long sentences that you think you will never see your family again.” This South African, single mother of                           two, is on a weekend break out of prison at the Baptist church’s Casa Recomeço ‘new beginning’ shelter for prisoners. Struggling to                             support her own mother and four siblings with her restaurant job she accepted an offer to go to Brazil to smuggle drugs. Eight                                         members of her family have died since she has been in prison. She hasn’t spoken to her mother for many months and is worried                           something may have happened to her but none of her family is telling her. She has served 2 years and 6 months of her 5 years and                             10 months sentence.

  “The people who gave me the bag never helped me in prison, they never helped my family, they just turned off their phones.”                         With five children to support alone, this Filipino woman borrowed money at a high interest rate to pay a fixer to get her a job in                                         Thailand which never materialised, leaving her stuck there without money. Desperate to pay off her debt and get back to her children                             she took up an offer to traffic drugs. Although she has worked throughout her time in prison, she won’t have the money to buy a ticket                             home at the end of her sentence. She still owes the money she borrowed and has no idea how much interest it has accumulated.                                   Having served 3 years and 6 months of her 5 years and 4 months sentence she is finishing it out on parole, at the Casa de Acolhida,                             a shelter for foreign women outside prison, set up by Catholic Palotine nuns.     

“The people who gave me the bag never helped me in prison, they never helped my family, they just turned off their phones.”                       With five children to support alone, this Filipino woman borrowed money at a high interest rate to pay a fixer to get her a job in                                         Thailand which never materialised, leaving her stuck there without money. Desperate to pay off her debt and get back to her children                             she took up an offer to traffic drugs. Although she has worked throughout her time in prison, she won’t have the money to buy a ticket                             home at the end of her sentence. She still owes the money she borrowed and has no idea how much interest it has accumulated.                                   Having served 3 years and 6 months of her 5 years and 4 months sentence she is finishing it out on parole, at the Casa de Acolhida,                             a shelter for foreign women outside prison, set up by Catholic Palotine nuns. 

 

  Unemployed for a few months, this woman from Cape Verde agreed to take the place of a friend on a smuggling trip to Brazil. The                                 trip was a success but she saw another girl on the same flight being arrested and tried to distance herself from her friend. She found                             her and insisted she make another trip. Afraid of what might happen to her or her young son if she said no, she agreed to go one                                   more time. At the airport in Sao Paulo a policeman was waiting for her and called her by name. She is due to finish her 4 year and                                 4 month sentence in 6 months time while on parole living at the Casa de Acolhida shelter. She has no idea how she will pay for a                           ticket home. Even though she worked all the time at prison she has managed to save very little.

Unemployed for a few months, this woman from Cape Verde agreed to take the place of a friend on a smuggling trip to Brazil. The                                 trip was a success but she saw another girl on the same flight being arrested and tried to distance herself from her friend. She found                             her and insisted she make another trip. Afraid of what might happen to her or her young son if she said no, she agreed to go one                                   more time. At the airport in Sao Paulo a policeman was waiting for her and called her by name. She is due to finish her 4 year and                                 4 month sentence in 6 months time while on parole living at the Casa de Acolhida shelter. She has no idea how she will pay for a                           ticket home. Even though she worked all the time at prison she has managed to save very little.

  “I’m just trying to appreciate the simple things about being outside, like looking at the sky.”   This British woman is on her first                       weekend break out of prison at the Baptist church’s Casa Recomeço. After many years of working in Europe she decided to go back                             to university. She studied in the evenings and worked during the day but had difficulty paying her bills and so decided to traffic drugs                           to make some extra money. On her second trip the police were waiting for her at the airport. She has served 3 years and 6 months                               of a 6 years and 1 month sentence and has been waiting for a response to an appeal for 3 years. Her family believe she is still living in                           Europe.

“I’m just trying to appreciate the simple things about being outside, like looking at the sky.” This British woman is on her first                       weekend break out of prison at the Baptist church’s Casa Recomeço. After many years of working in Europe she decided to go back                             to university. She studied in the evenings and worked during the day but had difficulty paying her bills and so decided to traffic drugs                           to make some extra money. On her second trip the police were waiting for her at the airport. She has served 3 years and 6 months                               of a 6 years and 1 month sentence and has been waiting for a response to an appeal for 3 years. Her family believe she is still living in                           Europe.

  “I have disappointed my children so many times in their lives. Now I have to make things right with them.”   This South African                   woman was arrested on her first drug trafficking trip which she made to support her own habit. She was given 2 years correctional                           supervision with 4 months in prison, during which time friends adopted her daughters. She was again caught on her second trip to                               Brazil. She had been using drugs inside prison but stopped after a cautionary letter from her girls’ adoptive mother. Afraid of loosing                               contact with her children, she has been clean for 3 months. At the time of the picture she had served 2 years and 7 months of a                                     4 years and 2 months sentence.   In 2011 she died in prison of natural causes having made peace with her daughters.

“I have disappointed my children so many times in their lives. Now I have to make things right with them.” This South African                   woman was arrested on her first drug trafficking trip which she made to support her own habit. She was given 2 years correctional                           supervision with 4 months in prison, during which time friends adopted her daughters. She was again caught on her second trip to                               Brazil. She had been using drugs inside prison but stopped after a cautionary letter from her girls’ adoptive mother. Afraid of loosing                               contact with her children, she has been clean for 3 months. At the time of the picture she had served 2 years and 7 months of a                                     4 years and 2 months sentence. In 2011 she died in prison of natural causes having made peace with her daughters.

  “I am grateful to be alive. There are many people who get arrested for the same crime in other countries and they get death             sentences, so I am thinking about that now.”   British prisoner, on weekend leave from Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women,                             Brazil.

“I am grateful to be alive. There are many people who get arrested for the same crime in other countries and they get death             sentences, so I am thinking about that now.” British prisoner, on weekend leave from Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women,                             Brazil.

The language classroom in Sao Paulo's Capital Penitentiary for Women, where women from over 30 countries are held. The largest                               numbers come from South Africa, then South America, followed by former Portuguese colonies in Africa such as Angola, Cape Verde                           and Mozambique. Many also come from Europe and Asia.

 

Most female drug mules come from poor families from other continents. It is unlikely they will ever receive a visit during their time in                         prison. They have the right to two phone calls a year. This difficulty of communication with their families is responsible for many of the                 women being on anti-depressants.

“When they give you the yellow pants and white T-shirt, that is the moment you realise you are actually in prison. When                                they take your clothes and your belongings, you feel like everything is gone, your identity and your life.” Bulgarian prisoner,                              Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, Brazil.

“They assured me everything would be fine because they had a good relationship with the police at the airport in Brazil.”                            This Portuguese girl, of Cape Verde descent, was tricked by a friend into taking her place as a drug mule on a trip to Brazil. It was the                            first time she had ever seen drugs. She has been in prison for 10 months and is still awaiting her sentence.

A Filipino girl arrives at her cell block on her first day at Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, carrying what are now her only                     possessions: a foam mattress and a spare set of prison clothes. She has been arrested at Sao Paulo Guarulhos International airport                             for smuggling cocaine.

“When I arrived here at the prison, it was like I was waking up from a dream. I looked back at everything that had happened                           in the last week and I thought, how could I have been so stupid? I don’t know even until today why I did it. This is the most                         difficult thing, to forgive yourself, to make peace.” This Hungarian woman was persuaded to travel to Brazil by her Nigerian lover.                           In Sao Paulo she was given padded pants to wear to conceal the diamonds she was asked to carry. Concerned that they didn’t appear                         to be diamonds, she challenged the man but was assured the stones were packed in sand. A police search at the airport revealed                                 she was wearing 3 kilos of cocaine. Although she tried to give the police the name of the person who gave her the drugs they were not                   interested. She has served 1 year and 7 months of her 5 years and 10 months sentence.

“We look ok, we sound ok but we are not, we are really hurting inside. Every night, once the doors are locked we cry,                           because we have destroyed our lives and our children’s lives and robbed ourselves of our freedom.” South African prisoner,                           Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, Brazil.

A former heroin addict, this Spanish woman and her husband decided to smuggle cocaine home when on holiday in Brazil. The                                     person they bought the drugs from was already being watched by the police, so they never even made it to the airport, they were                             arrested on the way there. They are awaiting papers from Spain to prove they are drug users because Brazilian law makes an                             allowance for users, often reducing their sentence.

Luz Mercedes, from Peru, is in prison for the second time in Brazil for drug trafficking. She made her first trip as a drug mule at the                                 age of 18 from Peru to USA via Mexico and continued to carry drugs ever since, employing other girls to work for her as well.                                       Always well dressed, the police never looked in her bags, which were full of shampoo bottles containing cocaine. She was caught                                   because of a badly made fake passport, which she hadn’t taken the time to check. She has served 1 year and 3 months of an 8 years                           sentence.

A cell at Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, meant for one person but which houses three. Two people sleep on the floor.

“Before I traveled, I prayed and said ‘Lord, this is not for me. It’s for my family. I don’t care about myself." Divorced from her                             husband, this Filipino woman was the sole provider for three generations of family. She worked for 10 years abroad looking after other                           people’s children while her own were growing up without her. Her son then became a father to three children and she struggled to                                 support them all. A friend who was involved in drug trafficking suggested she work for her, desperate to get home for Christmas, the                             first in 12 years, she agreed to make a trip. She has served 1 year and 3 months of a 5 years and 3 months sentence. While in prison                           her ex-husband has become more responsible towards their children and two of her four brothers have found jobs.

Two pairs of yellow pants and two white T-shirts are the only clothes given to new arrivals at the prison. Pyjamas, underwear and                             shoes have to be bought at an inflated price from Brazilian inmates whose families visit at weekends and import tradable goods.                                 These are affordable only once the new arrival has found work in the prison, which can take around 4 months.

Joyce Macina from South Africa was arrested in Sao Paulo Guarulhos airport for a false passport and attempting to smuggle in over                               the US$40,000 limit. She was freed halfway through her sentence due to declining health. Weakened by illnesses associated with                             HIV she struggled to find work and accommodation outside prison. when she ran out of money, she tried to smuggle cocaine out of                             the country to finance her way home. She was arrested and sent back to prison only 6 months after she had left, but has since been                             freed again and sent home on compassionate grounds because of her health.

Prisoners work long hours in the kitchen and in several prison based factories at Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, earning                               around $150 a month and remission off their sentences. It is just enough to buy toiletries and other necessities but not enough to                                   save for an air ticket home at the end of their sentences.

"Without even thinking of the risk or of what drugs really are, I said yes, because I just couldn’t handle it anymore, my                               situation was so bad. It was all about surviving and I wasn’t surviving. I didn’t like leaving my kids but I just thought, for                                   their benefit, I have to go.” A bad marriage to a foreigner found this woman and her three daughters returning home to South Africa                         with nothing. Finding it impossible to get work after her employment gap and uncomfortable with continually accepting help from her                         sister who they were living with, she decided to make a trip as a drug mule, telling her children she had a job interview abroad. She                               spoke to them for the first time 7 months after arriving in prison. They are being cared for by her sister as well as her own four children.

“I knew there was a risk of prison but I never really thought about it because I knew a lot of people who had traveled and                                   had swallowed.” This Spanish woman and her husband swallowed 300g of cocaine in capsules. She is still awaiting sentence after                             a year in prison.

This Russian girl was asked by a Nigerian friend to travel to Brazil to collect precious stones. In Sao Paulo she was given a pair of                                 padded pants, but feeling suspicious of their content, she questioned whether they were in fact holding drugs. Her daughter’s life was                             threatened and she was forced to wear them. As she arrived at the airport, she was approached by an undercover policeman, who,                               tipped off by an anonymous phone call, knew immediately where to look for the drugs. She has served 1 year and 7 months of a 5                           years and 8 months sentence.

“When I was arrested at the airport, I told the police my story. They laughed and opened a cabinet full of papers and said                                 ‘these are all the same story as yours, so why should we believe you?’” Helena Kalbacova, from Czech Republic, was                           approached by a stranger with a proposition to travel abroad as his translator. Unknown to her, he had agreed to bring drugs back                           from Brazil and had been told it would be safer to travel as a couple. She became suspicious when their plans kept changing.                                       When they got to the airport in Sao Paulo the police were already waiting for them. Because Helena spoke English, the judge decided                       that she must have been the one who organised the trip and so sentenced them accordingly; 6 years for her and 4 years and 6 months                       for him. She has served 3 years 8 months and he has just been released.

 

“We don’t know what the future holds for us. You get up each morning hoping that this day is better than the last and if its                         not, you take it as it is. And you just pray everyday that the kids are fine. You only have God in a place like this, nothing else.”                   South African prisoner, Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, Brazil.

“They give us such long sentences that you think you will never see your family again.” This South African, single mother of                           two, is on a weekend break out of prison at the Baptist church’s Casa Recomeço ‘new beginning’ shelter for prisoners. Struggling to                             support her own mother and four siblings with her restaurant job she accepted an offer to go to Brazil to smuggle drugs. Eight                                         members of her family have died since she has been in prison. She hasn’t spoken to her mother for many months and is worried                           something may have happened to her but none of her family is telling her. She has served 2 years and 6 months of her 5 years and                             10 months sentence.

“The people who gave me the bag never helped me in prison, they never helped my family, they just turned off their phones.”                       With five children to support alone, this Filipino woman borrowed money at a high interest rate to pay a fixer to get her a job in                                         Thailand which never materialised, leaving her stuck there without money. Desperate to pay off her debt and get back to her children                             she took up an offer to traffic drugs. Although she has worked throughout her time in prison, she won’t have the money to buy a ticket                             home at the end of her sentence. She still owes the money she borrowed and has no idea how much interest it has accumulated.                                   Having served 3 years and 6 months of her 5 years and 4 months sentence she is finishing it out on parole, at the Casa de Acolhida,                             a shelter for foreign women outside prison, set up by Catholic Palotine nuns. 

 

Unemployed for a few months, this woman from Cape Verde agreed to take the place of a friend on a smuggling trip to Brazil. The                                 trip was a success but she saw another girl on the same flight being arrested and tried to distance herself from her friend. She found                             her and insisted she make another trip. Afraid of what might happen to her or her young son if she said no, she agreed to go one                                   more time. At the airport in Sao Paulo a policeman was waiting for her and called her by name. She is due to finish her 4 year and                                 4 month sentence in 6 months time while on parole living at the Casa de Acolhida shelter. She has no idea how she will pay for a                           ticket home. Even though she worked all the time at prison she has managed to save very little.

“I’m just trying to appreciate the simple things about being outside, like looking at the sky.” This British woman is on her first                       weekend break out of prison at the Baptist church’s Casa Recomeço. After many years of working in Europe she decided to go back                             to university. She studied in the evenings and worked during the day but had difficulty paying her bills and so decided to traffic drugs                           to make some extra money. On her second trip the police were waiting for her at the airport. She has served 3 years and 6 months                               of a 6 years and 1 month sentence and has been waiting for a response to an appeal for 3 years. Her family believe she is still living in                           Europe.

“I have disappointed my children so many times in their lives. Now I have to make things right with them.” This South African                   woman was arrested on her first drug trafficking trip which she made to support her own habit. She was given 2 years correctional                           supervision with 4 months in prison, during which time friends adopted her daughters. She was again caught on her second trip to                               Brazil. She had been using drugs inside prison but stopped after a cautionary letter from her girls’ adoptive mother. Afraid of loosing                               contact with her children, she has been clean for 3 months. At the time of the picture she had served 2 years and 7 months of a                                     4 years and 2 months sentence. In 2011 she died in prison of natural causes having made peace with her daughters.

“I am grateful to be alive. There are many people who get arrested for the same crime in other countries and they get death             sentences, so I am thinking about that now.” British prisoner, on weekend leave from Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women,                             Brazil.

  The language classroom in Sao Paulo's Capital Penitentiary for Women, where women from over 30 countries are held. The largest                               numbers come from South Africa, then South America, followed by former Portuguese colonies in Africa such as Angola, Cape Verde                           and Mozambique. Many also come from Europe and Asia.
   
  
 
  
    
  
 Normal 
 0 
 
 
 
 
 false 
 false 
 false 
 
 EN-GB 
 JA 
 X-NONE 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
    
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
   
 
 /* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-priority:99;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin:0cm;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	font-size:10.0pt;
	font-family:Cambria;}
 
     
  Most female drug mules come from poor families from other continents. It is unlikely they will ever receive a visit during their time in                         prison. They have the right to two phone calls a year. This difficulty of communication with their families is responsible for many of the                 women being on anti-depressants.
  “When they give you the yellow pants and white T-shirt, that is the moment you realise you are actually in prison. When                                they take your clothes and your belongings, you feel like everything is gone, your identity and your life.”     Bulgarian prisoner,                              Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, Brazil.
  “They assured me everything would be fine because they had a good relationship with the police at the airport in Brazil.”                              This   Portuguese girl, of Cape Verde descent, was tricked by a friend into taking her place as a   drug mule on a trip to Brazil. It was the                            first time she had ever seen drugs. She has been in prison for 10 months and is still awaiting her sentence.
  A Filipino girl arrives at her cell block on her first day at Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, carrying what are now her only                     possessions: a foam mattress and a spare set of prison clothes. She has been arrested at Sao Paulo Guarulhos International airport                             for smuggling cocaine.
  “When I arrived here at the prison, it was like I was waking up from a dream. I looked back at everything that had happened                           in the last week and I thought, how could I have been so stupid? I don’t know even until today why I did it. This is the most                         difficult thing, to forgive yourself, to make peace.”   This Hungarian woman was persuaded to travel to Brazil by her Nigerian lover.                           In Sao Paulo she was given padded pants to wear to conceal the diamonds she was asked to carry. Concerned that they didn’t appear                         to be diamonds, she challenged the man but was assured the stones were packed in sand. A police search at the airport revealed                                 she was wearing 3 kilos of cocaine. Although she tried to give the police the name of the person who gave her the drugs they were not                   interested. She has served 1 year and 7 months of her 5 years and 10 months sentence.
  “We look ok, we sound ok but we are not, we are really hurting inside. Every night, once the doors are locked we cry,                           because we have destroyed our lives and our children’s lives and robbed ourselves of our freedom.”   South African prisoner,                           Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, Brazil.
  A former heroin addict, this Spanish woman and her husband decided to smuggle cocaine home when on holiday in Brazil. The                                     person they bought the drugs from was already being watched by the police, so they never even made it to the airport, they were                             arrested on the way there. They are awaiting papers from Spain to prove they are drug users because Brazilian law makes an                             allowance for users, often reducing their sentence.
  Luz Mercedes, from Peru, is in prison for the second time in Brazil for drug trafficking. She made her first trip as a drug mule at the                                 age of 18 from Peru to USA via Mexico and continued to carry drugs ever since, employing other girls to work for her as well.                                       Always well dressed, the police never looked in her bags, which were full of shampoo bottles containing cocaine. She was caught                                   because of a badly made fake passport, which she hadn’t taken the time to check. She has served 1 year and 3 months of an 8 years                           sentence.
  A cell at Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, meant for one person but which houses three. Two people sleep on the floor.
   “Before I traveled, I prayed and said ‘Lord, this is not for me. It’s for my family. I don’t care about myself."    Divorced from her                               husband, this Filipino woman was the sole provider for three generations of family. She worked for 10 years abroad looking after other                           people’s children while her own were growing up without her. Her son then became a father to three children and she struggled to                                 support them all. A friend who was involved in drug trafficking suggested she work for her, desperate to get home for Christmas, the                             first in 12 years, she agreed to make a trip. She has served 1 year and 3 months of a 5 years and 3 months sentence. While in prison                           her ex-husband has become more responsible towards their children and two of her four brothers have found jobs.
  Two pairs of yellow pants and two white T-shirts are the only clothes given to new arrivals at the prison. Pyjamas, underwear and                             shoes have to be bought at an inflated price from Brazilian inmates whose families visit at weekends and import tradable goods.                                 These are affordable only once the new arrival has found work in the prison, which can take around 4 months.
  Joyce Macina from South Africa was arrested in Sao Paulo Guarulhos airport for a false passport and attempting to smuggle in over                               the US$40,000 limit. She was freed halfway through her sentence due to declining health. Weakened by illnesses associated with                             HIV she struggled to find work and accommodation outside prison. when she ran out of money, she tried to smuggle cocaine out of                             the country to finance her way home. She was arrested and sent back to prison only 6 months after she had left, but has since been                             freed again and sent home on compassionate grounds because of her health.
  Prisoners work long hours in the kitchen and in several prison based factories at Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, earning                               around $150 a month and remission off their sentences. It is just enough to buy toiletries and other necessities but not enough to                                   save for an air ticket home at the end of their sentences.
   "Without even thinking of the risk or of what drugs really are, I said yes, because I just couldn’t handle it anymore, my                               situation was so bad. It was all about surviving and I wasn’t surviving. I didn’t like leaving my kids but I just thought, for                                   their benefit, I have to go.”    A bad marriage to a foreigner found this woman and her three daughters returning home to South Africa                         with nothing. Finding it impossible to get work after her employment gap and uncomfortable with continually accepting help from her                         sister who they were living with, she decided to make a trip as a drug mule, telling her children she had a job interview abroad. She                               spoke to them for the first time 7 months after arriving in prison. They are being cared for by her sister as well as her own four children.
  “I knew there was a risk of prison but I never really thought about it because I knew a lot of people who had traveled and                                   had swallowed.”   This Spanish woman and her husband swallowed 300g of cocaine in capsules. She is still awaiting sentence after                             a year in prison.
  This Russian girl was asked by a Nigerian friend to travel to Brazil to collect precious stones. In Sao Paulo she was given a pair of                                 padded pants, but feeling suspicious of their content, she questioned whether they were in fact holding drugs. Her daughter’s life was                             threatened and she was forced to wear them. As she arrived at the airport, she was approached by an undercover policeman, who,                               tipped off by an anonymous phone call, knew immediately where to look for the drugs. She has served 1 year and 7 months of a 5                           years and 8 months sentence.
   “When I was arrested at the airport, I told the police my story. They laughed and opened a cabinet full of papers and said                                     ‘these are all the same story as yours, so why should we believe you?’”    Helena Kalbacova, from Czech Republic, was                           approached by a stranger with a proposition to travel abroad as his translator. Unknown to her, he had agreed to bring drugs back                           from Brazil and had been told it would be safer to travel as a couple. She became suspicious when their plans kept changing.                                       When they got to the airport in Sao Paulo the police were already waiting for them. Because Helena spoke English, the judge decided                       that she must have been the one who organised the trip and so sentenced them accordingly; 6 years for her and 4 years and 6 months                       for him. She has served 3 years 8 months and he has just been released.    
  “We don’t know what the future holds for us. You get up each morning hoping that this day is better than the last and if its                         not, you take it as it is. And you just pray everyday that the kids are fine. You only have God in a place like this, nothing else.”                     South African prisoner, Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women, Brazil.
  “They give us such long sentences that you think you will never see your family again.”  This South African, single mother of                           two, is on a weekend break out of prison at the Baptist church’s Casa Recomeço ‘new beginning’ shelter for prisoners. Struggling to                             support her own mother and four siblings with her restaurant job she accepted an offer to go to Brazil to smuggle drugs. Eight                                         members of her family have died since she has been in prison. She hasn’t spoken to her mother for many months and is worried                           something may have happened to her but none of her family is telling her. She has served 2 years and 6 months of her 5 years and                             10 months sentence.
  “The people who gave me the bag never helped me in prison, they never helped my family, they just turned off their phones.”                         With five children to support alone, this Filipino woman borrowed money at a high interest rate to pay a fixer to get her a job in                                         Thailand which never materialised, leaving her stuck there without money. Desperate to pay off her debt and get back to her children                             she took up an offer to traffic drugs. Although she has worked throughout her time in prison, she won’t have the money to buy a ticket                             home at the end of her sentence. She still owes the money she borrowed and has no idea how much interest it has accumulated.                                   Having served 3 years and 6 months of her 5 years and 4 months sentence she is finishing it out on parole, at the Casa de Acolhida,                             a shelter for foreign women outside prison, set up by Catholic Palotine nuns.     
  Unemployed for a few months, this woman from Cape Verde agreed to take the place of a friend on a smuggling trip to Brazil. The                                 trip was a success but she saw another girl on the same flight being arrested and tried to distance herself from her friend. She found                             her and insisted she make another trip. Afraid of what might happen to her or her young son if she said no, she agreed to go one                                   more time. At the airport in Sao Paulo a policeman was waiting for her and called her by name. She is due to finish her 4 year and                                 4 month sentence in 6 months time while on parole living at the Casa de Acolhida shelter. She has no idea how she will pay for a                           ticket home. Even though she worked all the time at prison she has managed to save very little.
  “I’m just trying to appreciate the simple things about being outside, like looking at the sky.”   This British woman is on her first                       weekend break out of prison at the Baptist church’s Casa Recomeço. After many years of working in Europe she decided to go back                             to university. She studied in the evenings and worked during the day but had difficulty paying her bills and so decided to traffic drugs                           to make some extra money. On her second trip the police were waiting for her at the airport. She has served 3 years and 6 months                               of a 6 years and 1 month sentence and has been waiting for a response to an appeal for 3 years. Her family believe she is still living in                           Europe.
  “I have disappointed my children so many times in their lives. Now I have to make things right with them.”   This South African                   woman was arrested on her first drug trafficking trip which she made to support her own habit. She was given 2 years correctional                           supervision with 4 months in prison, during which time friends adopted her daughters. She was again caught on her second trip to                               Brazil. She had been using drugs inside prison but stopped after a cautionary letter from her girls’ adoptive mother. Afraid of loosing                               contact with her children, she has been clean for 3 months. At the time of the picture she had served 2 years and 7 months of a                                     4 years and 2 months sentence.   In 2011 she died in prison of natural causes having made peace with her daughters.
  “I am grateful to be alive. There are many people who get arrested for the same crime in other countries and they get death             sentences, so I am thinking about that now.”   British prisoner, on weekend leave from Sao Paulo Capital Penitentiary for Women,                             Brazil.