(WiredPRNews.com) — For tourists to the exotic Brazilian local, Rio de Janeiro, a tour into the depths of the city could serve up more than they bargained for. According to a report from Reuters, a Rio de Janeiro tour company stands to be stripped of their license for giving tourists an up close and personal tour of the gritty life in the city’s dirtiest and drug-ridden slums, which can include photo opportunities with drug dealers and gang leaders.
On Monday, the Brazilian city’s tourism chief said that the off-color company, Private Tours, stands to be stripped of its license. This news comes as a result of a report in the Sunday issue of the local Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper stating that Private Tours had set up meetings between tourists and drug traffickers.
According to Reuters, “The paper sent a reporter disguised as a foreign tourist on the 4-hour, $55 (28 pound) tour of Rocinha, the city’s largest slum, that included visits to the “bocas de fumo” where traffickers sell drugs to Rio residents. It said the traffickers told the tourists stories about their time in prison, described the life of a Rio drug dealer, and would then pose for pictures with their guns — as long as their faces were not photographed.”
This comes as unfortunate press for Rio de Janeiro since it diminishes the tours to the exotic locations of the city. Acknowledging this participation in the slum tours, Pedro Novak of the Private Tours firm was quick to point the fingers stating, “”I’m not the only one.”
The slum tours have been a staple of underground tourism for years, as several companies have offered similar tours to the city’s near 600 slums. Gangs have a strong hold on Rio de Janeiro held under strong control of heavily armed drug gangs such as “Red Command” and “Friends of Friends”. The cocaine market is highly influential there and these gangs constantly fight for control of the empire.