Fortaleza, the resort targeted by Italian police
Police have arrested a number of Italian travel agents in a crackdown on sex tourism in Brazil.
The raids hit suspected organisers of trips to Fortaleza, on Brazil's northern coast, where cases of tourists buying sex with local children have been reported.
Alberto Intini, of Rome police, said the Italian travel agencies were suspected of channelling so-called sex tourists through an agency in Fortaleza, run by an Italian man.
He told Italian state radio this agency "aided and abetted not only contact with prostitution, particularly minors, but also access to hotels".
The Italian police even mounted an undercover operation to investigate what was going on in Fortaleza.
"With an undercover operation carried out by agents of the Rome Flying Squad in the Brazilian tourist resort of Fortaleza, we were able to verify these crimes for ourselves and enabled the Brazilian Federal Police to act on single cases," Mr Intini said.
Police were also carrying out checks on more than 1,000 people who went on the trips, the radio added.
According to the Associated Press news agency, the four people arrested were the Italian owner of the suspected travel agency in Fortaleza, his Brazilian wife and the owners of two other Italian travel agencies.
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