GAINESVILLE, Ga. (CN) – Four Brazilian women say a Georgia man and his fishing tour company recruited them as minors “to engage in ‘sex tourism’ in Brazil … to engage in commercial sex acts with defendants’ customers and with defendant [Richard] Schair himself, aboard defendants’ fishing boat, the Amazon Santana.”
Plaintiffs A, B, C, and D sued Richard Wayne Schair and his Wet-A-Line Tours in Federal Court, under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000.
“Defendants, by and through their agents and employees, engaged in international commerce and sex trafficking of children by recruiting customers in the United States to engage in ‘sex tourism’ in Brazil,” the complaint states. “Defendants arranged transportation for their customers from the United States to Brazil and recruited girls, including plaintiffs and other girls, many of whom, like plaintiffs, were under eighteen years of age, to engage in commercial sex acts with defendants’ customers and with defendant Schair himself aboard defendants’ fishing boat, the Amazon Santana.”
Schair founded Wet-A-Line Tours in 1998, operating weeklong fishing tours along the Amazon River, the complaint states. His clientele consisted of wealthy people, mostly from the United States, it adds.
At some point, the plaintiffs say, the “defendants began arranging parties for their passengers aboard the Amazon Santana involving both women and underage girls, drugs, and sexual conduct.”
Word about Schair’s parties spread, and people began paying Schair to go to the parties, the plaintiffs say. They claim he sent employees who spoke Portuguese into the Autazes community to recruit underage girls.
One such employee, the women say, was Admilson Garcia da Silva, who allegedly worked for Wet-A-Line Tours from 2001 to 2008: “At the direction of defendant Schair, he recruited and transported young girls under the age of eighteen from the Autazes community to perform sexual acts for defendants’ passengers aboard the Amazon Santana,” according to the complaint.
The plaintiffs, who say they were hired at ages 12 to 17, say they were recruited at a “social club” near the Amazon River: “Defendant Schair, his employees, and/or his customers recruited young girls at a ‘social club’ near the Amazon River using such tactics as displaying wealth, providing the girls alcoholic drinks, and other means of trickery and deceit, thereby inducing the girls to ride on the Amazon Santana,” the complaint states. “Once the girls were on the boat, they were coerced into performing sex acts with Schair and his customers. The defendants were paid by the customers for their services, and sometimes the girls were paid modest amounts of money for engaging in these acts.
“The girls, including the plaintiffs, were impoverished and the possibility of earning money on the boat was a significant inducement.”
The women seek punitive damages. They are represented by John W. Harbin and William E. Hoffman Jr. with King & Spalding.