Desperate to pay her mother’s medical bills, an 18-year-old Brazilian is auctioning off her virginity — despite pleas by her mom not to “prostitute” herself.
So far, the bidding has reached a high of $35,000, Rebeca Bernardo told CNN after she first posted a YouTube video about the stunt in November.
The teen said she was inspired by another Brazilian, 20-year-old Catarina Migliorini, who recently raised $780,000 for her virginity — cash she wants to use to build homes for the poor.
Prostitution is legal in Brazil.
“I made up my mind right after my 18th birthday,” Bernardo told CNN. “That’s when my mother suffered a stroke.”
She said she found other jobs, waitressing and selling cosmetics, but they didn’t pay enough. A local TV station after hearing about her story even offered to pay for the expenses to care for her mother, but the deal fell through after Bernardo said she wants enough money to relocate as well.
She wouldn’t say exactly how much is needed.
“There comes a time when you have to make decisions to get what you want,” said the teen. “You have to be strong.”
Rebeca Bernardo’s mom has suffered from ailing health since her stroke, the teenager says. She needs money to help pay for a caretaker and relocate.
The publicity initially made Bernardo a pariah in her town of Sapeaçu in northeastern Brazil.
“When she started the auction, people in the street threw coins at her,” a local mechanic told CNN. “But I never looked at her differently.”
But neighbors also sympathized, saying that Bernardo’s sister died several years ago and she never knew her father. CNN filmed the teen helping to spoon feed her mom in their tiny home.
“She should look for work,” her mother said. “She shouldn’t prostitute herself.”