“I’m happy being a prostitute.” That was one of the slogans the Brazilian health ministry posted online for several days this week until complaints from the nation’s growing ranks of Christian Evangelicals forced the ministry to replace the message on Wednesday with a much tamer one: “Not ashamed of using a condom.”
Part of a broader web campaign for International Prostitute Day, the message was meant to destigmatize sex work and its associated health risks, according to a Reuters report. The campaign also encourages prostitutes to seek medical attention when needed. Another slogan read: “I cannot be seen without a condom, my love,” according to the Christian Post.
The “happy prostitute” slogan was derided by Evangelicals legislators who saw it as glorifying sex work. Although adult prostitution is legal, the South American nation has a growing problem with child prostitution, which is prohibited. The country’s health minister Alexandre Padilha said he didn’t support or endorse this advertisement, the BBC reported. He added that the message was not meant to be published and tweeted that the decision to withdraw the materials was made before any demonstrations against it.
Brazil has a mixed record when it comes to sex workers. Unlike other Roman Catholic countries, it publicly distributes condoms, encourages treatment for sexually-transmitted diseases and has pushed drugmakers to reduce the cost of AIDS medications sold there. But in part due to its high poverty rates, the nation has more than 250,000 child prostitutes and a million adult sex workers. Known for its liberal views on sexuality, it is also a top destination for sex tourists.
With the Soccer World Cup headed to Brazil in 2014, the prostitution business is expected to boom, TIME reported earlier this year, so much so that Brazilian prostitutes are being offered free English classes to get up close and personal with their foreign clients during tournaments.