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By Philip Sever, Contributing Reporter

Camelos street vendors, photo by Philip Sever.
Camelos street vendors, photo by Philip Sever.

RIO DE JANEIRO – In a new government project, illegal street vendors are being removed from Rio’s streets. Starting in May street vendors have to register themselves, and in some cases stop selling goods. The Prefeitura says it will then help them gain employment elsewhere.

An estimated 38,000 jobs are expected to be made available for the street vendors. The project, known as “Projeto Empresa Bacana”, is aiming to remove most street vendors, known as “camelos”, from Rio’s streets. The Prefeitura believes the camelos are a nuisance, most of whom are selling goods illegally.

The project was launched on Thursday (April 7th) with the removal of street traders in Tijuca, an area chosen as a pilot. Registration will begin on the 18th of May, and it is expected that registration of all street vendors will be complete by October. In the first stage street vendors who already have licenses can register. After that, those who are selling unlawfully can register.

Priority for re-employment will be given to the disabled, people over 45 years, people unemployed for over 1 year, and ex-prisoners. The Prefeitura will also make special provisions for those with children who currently rely on selling goods as their only source of income. These individuals will be able to carry on selling goods under license.

Many local street vendors are not supportive of the project, Muricio Levi is the third generation in his family working as a street vendor told O Dia, “this initiative comes at a time when I was thinking of becoming an entrepreneur.” Muricio has no experience in anything else and is worried he will not be given a job once his street vending business is removed.

Street vendors who want to continue selling have to go to one of 19 Regional Licensing Inspectorates for registration. Those given a license will have their names entered into the Register of Trade Single itinerant and a badge will be issued with the personal data of the individual. The badge will include information on the type of product sold and the time the vendor is allowed to operate. The license will be differentiated by color depending on the area in Rio where the vendor operates. The license will not be valid elsewhere.

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