Nadia Shira Cohen

About me

River Women


  • National GeographicBrazil: River Women
  • Virginia Quarterly ReviewRiver Women of Brazil



Prostitution is a big word, to describe what goes on the Amazon River in Brazil, in a region privy to years of conquest and exploitation. The life of the “Ribeirinhas” has historically been about little more than survival, a daily hunt to put food on the table. Out of this necessity was born a practice of sexual exchange which began with the many passing ships and the young women who chase after them, rowing in their small canoes, only to hook on and offer fruits, shrimp, and inevitably themselves. Their currency is diesel and the mariners who come from cities afar bring gifts and the promise of a better life. Lines of reality blur into fairytale.

River Women-1
Built by Emiliano Pallini