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Children up for adoption paraded in Brazil shopping centre

AFP  |  Rio de Janeiro 

A parade of adoptable children held in a Brazilian shopping centre drew condemnation Thursday, with some comparing the event to the of animals or slaves.

"Adoption on the Catwalk" in the central-west state of was designed to "give visibility to children and adolescents who are eligible for adoption," according to an official statement promoting Tuesday's show.

The parade -- organised by the local chapters of the and Youth Commission (CYC) and the Adoption Research and (AMPARA) -- was held in the Pantanal shopping mall in the capital Cuiaba.

"As we always say, what the eyes see, the heart feels," Tatiane de Barros Ramalho, of the CYC and a lawyer, was quoted as saying.

"It's a night for potential adopters to get to know the kids and teens. The population can have more information about adoption and the children themselves will have a special day in which they will get done up for the parade." An undated photo published on G1 site purportedly showed a girl wearing a white t-shirt and a short pink skirt walking down a catwalk in front of onlookers, who were recording images with their

But the bar association said the photo was taken during a previous "Adoption on the Catwalk" event in 2016.

of the parade sparked outrage on social media, prompting organizers to defend the event, saying none of the children had been forced to participate.

"It was never the goal... to introduce children and adolescents to families in order to achieve adoption," the Bar Association of (OAB-MT) said on its page.

It admitted, however, that two teenagers were adopted after the 2016 edition.

"The and AMPARA reject any kind of distortion of the event by associating it with dark periods of our history," it added, referring to Brazil's traumatic past as a slave

The former Portuguese colony only abolished in 1888, two decades after the

Echoes of that period continue to reverberate today in a country where is deeply embedded.

The bar association's statement drew hundreds of comments on Facebook, mostly critical of the parade.

"Selling animals or slaves?" Juarez Ternus wrote on

Another user said: "Shameful... it's like a children's exhibition fair in the form of a cattle market." "Like the slaves of 'old' -- did they show their teeth?" wrote

The for the Rights of Children and Adolescents expressed its "regret" over the parade, which also sparked an protesting the event. So far it has garnered more than 1,100 signatures.

More than 9,500 children and adolescents are waiting to be adopted in Brazil, a state agency reported Tuesday, citing figures from the National Adoption Registry.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, May 24 2019. 03:20 IST