Ages of consent in South America
The ages of consent for sexual activity vary by jurisdiction across South America. The specific activity engaged in or the gender of its participants can also be affected by the law. Below is a discussion of the various laws dealing with this subject. The highlighted age refers to an age at or above which an individual can engage in unfettered sexual relations with another who is also at or above that age. Other variables, for example close in age exceptions may exist and are noted when relevant. The only country in South America where male same-sex sexual conduct is illegal is Guyana and a higher age of consent for same-sex sexual relations in Chile, Paraguay and Suriname.
The below is a list of all jurisdictions in South America as listed in List of sovereign states and dependent territories in South America.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Argentina
- 3 Aruba
- 4 Bolivia
- 5 Brazil
- 6 Caribbean Netherlands
- 7 Chile
- 8 Colombia
- 9 Curaçao
- 10 Ecuador
- 11 Falkland Islands (UK)
- 12 French Guiana
- 13 Guyana
- 14 Paraguay
- 15 Peru
- 16 South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (UK)
- 17 Suriname
- 18 Trinidad and Tobago
- 19 Uruguay
- 20 Venezuela
- 21 See also
- 22 Literature
- 23 References
In South America, many countries have different levels of protection or of restriction for sexual activities with minors. The age at which there are no restrictions indicates the moment when someone reaches full sexual autonomy with respect to the law, while the minimum age of consent shows the minimum age at which someone can legally give consent, however under certain restrictions or circumstances. Sexual acts with someone under this minimum age are legally classified as sexual abuse. The extent and nature of these restrictions or circumstances vary according to the country and are explained below in the proper section.
Sexual acts with children younger than 13 are strictly illegal. Sexual relations with teens 13-18 are addressed by several laws. None of these laws explicitly outlaws such relations, but makes them open to prosecution under certain circumstances (such as if the relation is considered exploitative, if the minor was "corrupted").
Restrictions apply for sex with adolescents between the ages of 13 and 16 (Argentine Penal Code, Article 120). Charges can be brought only after a complaint by the minor, their parent or guardian - (Argentine Penal Code Article 72) (however, the State prosecutes when the minor has no parent or legal guardian, or when the offender is one of them).
The restrictions mentioned above (for ages between 13 and 16) apply whenever someone over 18, taking advantage of the sexual immaturity of the minor or of his superiority (preeminencia) with respect to the minor, practices one of the following acts:
- creates an abusive situation of sexual submission severely "outrageous" to the minor, either continuously or for its circumstances (Article 120 combined with Article 119, 2nd paragraph);
- or when any type of sex (acceso carnal) is obtained by the means of violence, threat, abusive coercion, or harassment in a relationship of dependence, authority or power, or by taking advantage of the fact that the minor, for any reason, couldn’t freely give consent -
There is also a further Argentine law, 'Corruption of minors', which can bring charges to those manipulating minors below the age of 18 into having sexual relations - (Argentine Penal Code Article 125 - in Spanish).
Article 125 reads:
ARTICULO 125. - El que promoviere o facilitare la corrupción de menores de dieciocho años, aunque mediare el consentimiento de la víctima será reprimido con reclusión o prisión de tres a diez años.
Approximate translation: ARTICLE 125. - Anyone who promotes or facilitates the corruption of persons under eighteen, even with the consent of the victim shall be punished with seclusion or imprisonment of three to ten years.
Penalties are aggravated in three situations:
- (a) if the minor is under 13;
- (b) when sex is obtained by the means of deceit, violence, threat, abuse of authority or by any other means of intimidation or coercion, as well as when the offender is a parent or legal guardian, brother/sister, spouse, or someone who is a constant companion or who is responsible for educating or guarding the minor; or
- (c) when the offender takes advantage of being a previous companion to the minor, in order to violate any of the restrictions aforementioned for ages between 13 and 16 (Argentine Penal Code - Article 119, 4th paragraph, section “f” - in Spanish).
Art 251: "A person who, out of wedlock, with a person who has reached the age of twelve but has not reached fifteen, performs indecent acts comprising or including sexual penetration of the body is liable to a term of imprisonment of not more than eight years or a fine of at most 100 000 florin".
For children 12-15 prosecution only takes place upon a "complaint" by the minor, his parents or clarify].[
The age of consent in Bolivia is set at puberty regardless of gender and/or sexual orientation, according to Article 308 of the Bolivian Penal Code (PDF) (in Spanish), which says: “if the rape (violación) was to a minor who has not reached the age of puberty, the act will be punished with ten to twenty years of prison”. This article refers only to “carnal access” (acceso carnal), whereas article 312 covers all other “lascivious acts” (actos libidinosos) not characterized as “carnal access”, which are punished with one to three years of prison.
There is also a crime called estupro (article 309), which applies for consented relations obtained by the means of seduction or deceit, with a female adolescent, defined as a “woman who has reached puberty and is under 17”.
Both violación and estupro are aggravated (article 310) with an extra one third of the term when: (a) there is a serious health damage to the victim; (b) the offender is a parent, son or daughter, brother or sister, half-brother or half-sister, stepfather or stepmother, or is in charge of education or custody of the victim; (c) there are multiple offenders.
Finally, the crime of “corruption of minors” (article 318) is applicable to those manipulating a person under 17 into sexual acts, with a term of one to five years in prison, aggravated (article 319) to 1 to 6 years when (a) the victim is under 12; (b) the crime has the purpose of profit; (c) there was deceit, violence or any other means of harassment or coercion; (d) the victim is mentally ill or disabled; (e) the accused is a husband, parent, brother, legal guardian, teacher or chaperone of the victim.
Bolivia's MAS-controlled congress approved a law on October 22, 2010, which allows sexual relations from age 12 as long as the partners are no greater than three years apart in age, and there was no violence or intimidation involved. The specific language of this section of the new law — proposed by the president of the lower chamber, Héctor Arce, to reform the Penal Code with the intent of protecting children and adolescents from sexual aggression — is intended to exempt younger children from punishments intended for older persons having sexual relations with minors.
In Brazil, the age of consent is 14, regardless of gender and/or sexual orientation, with a judicial precedent showing that a close-in-age exception that allows those aged 12 and 13 to engage in sexual activity with partners who are 5 years older or less is legal, although not legally formalized. The age at which there are no restrictions for sexual activities is 18.
Sex with minors below the age of 14, at least for all those older than 18, is equivalent to statutory rape and is legally defined by Article 217-A of the Brazilian Penal Code (see text here in Portuguese) as the "rape of a vulnerable person", with a penalty of 8 to 15 years in prison.
The prostitution of minors (all ages under 18) is punished by law and is prosecuted by the State, according to the Code of Minors (Article 244-A), as well as according to the Penal Code, Articles 218-B, 227, 230, 231 and 231-A. The law makes no distinctions between sexual orientation cases.
The Brazilian Imperial Code, in its Article 219, added by Notice 512 of 1862, established the age of 17 for the legal presumption of violence in sexual relations. Later on, the Republican Penal Code of 1890, in its Article 272, lowered this age to 16.
The Penal Code of 1940 lowered the presumption of violence in sexual acts (equivalent of statutory rape) to 14 (Article 224, “a”, of the then Penal Code), but consensual sex with adolescents aged 14 to 17 could still be prosecuted under “corruption of minors” (Article 218) or “seduction of minors” (Article 217) while, in both cases, only parents could file charges to form a lawsuit (Article 225).
Sex with young adolescents aged 12 or 13, although under the age of statutory rape, were then also prosecuteable only by parents (Article 225) (see old version of the 1940 Penal Code here – in Portuguese), while sex with those younger than 12 was prosecuted by the State based on the legal definition of child (Article 2nd of the Code of Minors).
As an exception, the State could prosecute the offender when the minor was at any age below 18 but only when the family of the minor was so poor that they couldn’t afford a lawsuit (Penal Code, article 225, I) or when the offender was the father, mother, stepfather, stepmother or legal guardian of the minor (Penal Code, article 225, II).
On March 2005, the crime of seduction of minors (Article 217 of the then Penal Code) was abolished by the Brazilian Congress. It was applicable only when the victim was a virgin woman between 14 and 18.
On August 2009, the crime of corruption of minors (former Article 218 of the Penal Code) referring to consensual acts with adolescents aged 14 to 17 without parental consent was abolished by Law 12.015/2009. The crime was replaced with a new one under the same name but now applicable to sexual acts with minors below 14, however prosecuteable not more by legal guardians but by the State (according to the new Article 225 of the Penal Code).
The crime of sexual harassment (Article 216-A of the present Penal Code) practiced in situations of hierarchical superiority or ascendency in a job, position or occupation is now punisheable with a higher penalty if the victim is younger than 18 years old (2nd Paragraph).
The age of consent in the Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius) is 16, as specified by the Criminal Code BES, Articles 251, which reads:
Art 251: "A person who, out of wedlock, with a person who has reached the age of twelve but has not reached sixteen, performs indecent acts comprising or including sexual penetration of the body is liable to a term of imprisonment of not more than sixteen years". Before prosecution, the public attorney will -if possible- allow the minor to indicate if procecution is deemed desirable.
In Chile, the age at which there are no restrictions for sexual activities is 18, while the minimum age of consent is 14. Limitations exist between 14 and 18 years old (Art. 362 Chilean Penal Code). Even when not clearly stated in Article 362, later on, in Article 365, homosexual activity is declared illegal with anyone under 18 years old.
There also exists in the Chilean Penal Code, a legal figure called estupro. This figure establishes some limitations to sexual contacts with children older than 14 and younger than 18 years old. The estupro legislation (Article 363) defines four situations in which sex with such a children can be declared illegal even if the minor consented to the relationship (non-consensual sex with anyone older than 14 y.o. falls under the rape legislation, Article 361; while any sexual contact with anyone under 14 y.o. falls under the statutory rape legislation, Article 362.):
- When one takes advantage of a mental anomaly or perturbation of the child, even if transitory.
- When one takes advantage of a dependency or subordinate relationship of the child, like in cases when the aggressor is in charge of the custody, education or caretaking of the child, or when there exists a laboral relationship with the child.
- When one takes advantage of severely neglected children.
- When one takes advantage of the sexual ignorance or inexperience of the child.
The sexual acts regulated by Articles 361 (rape), 362 (statutory rape), 363 (estupro) and 365 (homosexual sex) are defined as "carnal access" (acceso carnal), which means either oral, anal or vaginal intercourse. Other articles within the penal code regulate other sexual interactions (Articles 365 bis, 366, 366 bis, 366 ter, 366 quarter). Article 365 bis, regulates the "introduction of objects" either in the anus, vagina or mouth. Article 366 bis, defines "sexual act" as any relevant act with sexual significance accomplished by physical contact with the victim, or affecting the victim's genitals, anus or mouth even when no physical contact occurred.
Article 369 states that charges relating to these offenses (Articles 361 to 365) can be brought only after a complaint by the minor or the minor's parent, guardian or legal representative. Nevertheless, if the offended party cannot freely file the complaint and lacks a legal representative, parent of guardian, or if the legal representative, parent or guardian is involved in the crime, the Public Ministry may proceed by its own.
In 1810, the age of consent for opposite-sex activity was 12, then in 1976 it was raised to 14 and then in 1998 same-sex activity was made legal - With an "unequal" age of consent statute provision set at 18.
The age of sexual consent in Colombia is 14 years, according to Article 208 and 209 of Act 599 of 2000 (Effective Criminal Code). Sexual consent is valid as long as no violence, prostitution, and pornography occurs. The couple teenager, you can not take pictures or make sexy videos which appears under 18 years (Article 218 of Law 599 of 2000).
In Colombia there is currently no statutory rape law, this was a figure that existed in the 1980 Penal Code (Article 301 and 302 of Decree 100 of 1980), being abolished by Act 599 of 2000 (Effective Criminal Code).
For safety it is advisable to only have sex with older (fifteen) 15 years, and also that the adult is not more than 40 years. When there is a big age difference between the child and the adult, it is likely that tend to believe that there was coercion or violence (e.g., a 16 year old girl and an adult of 50 years).
Youth covers the age range between 14 years and 28 years in the New Youth Citizenship Statute. In reference to man is considered young until about 40 years, for this reason a grown man who has not reached age 40 can have sex with girls aged 15, 16, 17 or more years, as long as there consent. In the case of women is culturally a celebration when it satisfies the 15 years, called party fifteen, in which symbolizes the transition or conversion from girl to woman.
For young men, there are cases where teenage boys 15, 16, 17 years hold affairs with adult women who hover between 25 and 40 years.
In conclusion both men and women aged 15 years tend to have romance, dating and sex with women and older men. The important thing is that relationships or encounters are consensual.
Penal Code (Act 599 of 2000)
Article 205. Amended by Act 1236 of 2008, Article 1. Violent sexual intercourse. The performing sexual intercourse with another person by force, be liable to imprisonment of twelve (12) to twenty (20) years.
Article 206. Amended by Act 1236 of 2008, Article 2. Violent sexual act. The person performing in another sexual act to intercourse through violence, shall be sentenced to eight (8) to sixteen (16) years.
Article 207. Amended by Act 1236 of 2008, Article 3. Intercourse or sexual act put himself unable to resist. The performing sexual intercourse with person to whom has since unable to resist or unconscious, or in a position of inferiority that impede understanding psychic intercourse or consent, be liable to imprisonment of twelve (12) to twenty (20) years. If running sexual act of intercourse, the penalty shall be eight (8) to sixteen (16) years.
Article 208. Amended by Act 1236 of 2008, Article 4. Abusive sexual intercourse under fourteen years. The carnally accessing child under fourteen (14) years, shall be sentenced to twelve (12) to twenty (20) years. (Declared admissible by the Judgment C-876 of 2011).
Article 209. Amended by Act 1236 of 2008, Article 5. Sexual acts with child under fourteen. On that I will perform various sexual acts of sexual intercourse with a person under fourteen (14) years or in his presence, or induce sexual practices, be liable to imprisonment of nine (9) to thirteen (13) years. (Declared admissible by the Judgment C-876 of 2011). ITEM created by Act 670 of 2001, Article 33. If the agent carries out, any of the acts described in this article under fourteen people by virtual means, using global information networks, shall incur the penalties which decreased by one-third. "
Article 210. Amended by Act 1236 of 2008, Article 6. Sex intercourse or unable to resist abusive. The carnally accessing unconscious person, or suffering from mental disorder or is unable to resist, be liable to imprisonment of twelve (12) to twenty (20) years. If access is not carried out, but it various sexual acts, the penalty shall be eight (8) to sixteen (16) years.
Article 210 A. Added by Act 1257 of 2008, Article 29. Sexual Harassment. The benefit to you or a third party and using his relationships manifest superiority or authority or power, age, gender, job position, social, family or economic, harasses, victimizes, harasses or assail physically or verbally, for sexual purposes without consent, to another person, be liable to imprisonment from one (1) to three (3) years.
Article 211. Amended by Act 1236 of 2008, Article 7. Aggravating Circumstances. The penalties for the offenses described in the previous articles, be increased by one third to one half when:
1. The conduct was committed with the assistance of another person or persons.
2. The head hath any character, position or office to give him special authority over the victim or to put into it boost your confidence.
3. Pollution reached in a sexually transmitted disease.
4. Declared enforceable in Judgment C-521 of 2009. Is committed on a person under fourteen (14) years.
5. Amended by Act 1257 of 2008, Article 30. The conduct was committed on relative up to the fourth degree of consanguinity, affinity, or first quarter of calendar on spouse or partner or life partner, or against any person who is found to be permanently integrated into the household, or taking advantage of the trust of the victim in the author or in one or more of the participants. For the purposes specified in this article, the affinity is derived from any form of marriage or cohabitation. Previous Text No. 5: "spouse is committed on or about who is cohabiting or has cohabited, or the person with whom he has fathered a child.".
6. Reached in a pregnancy.
7. When the victim is a person of the elderly or physically disabled, sensory, or psychic.
7. Added by Act 1257 of 2008, Article 30. If committed on vulnerable people because of their age, ethnicity, physical disability, mental or sensory, occupation or trade.
8. Added by Act 1257 of 2008, Article 30. If the offense is committed with the intention of creating social control, fear or obedience in the community.
Article 212. Intercourse. For the purposes of the conduct described in the previous chapters, the term carnal penetration penis anal, vaginal or oral and vaginal or anal penetration of any other part of the human body or other object.
Article 213. Declared enforceable in Judgment C-636 of 2009. Amended by Act 1236 of 2008, art. August. Induction into prostitution. The one with the intention to profit or to satisfy the desires of another, induce sexual intercourse or prostitution to another person, be liable to imprisonment of ten (10) to twenty (22) years and a fine of sixty-six (66) to seven fifty (750) legal monthly minimum wage.
Article 213A. Added by Law 1329 of 2009, art. Two. Pimping with a minor. The profit that for himself or for a third party or to satisfy the sexual desires of another, organize, facilitate or participate in any way in the sex trade and sexual exploitation of another person under 18 shall be liable to fourteen (14) to twenty (25) years and a fine of sixty-seven (67) to (750) legal monthly minimum wage.
Article 214. Amended by Act 1236 of 2008, Article 9. Constraint prostitution. The one with the intention to profit or to satisfy the desires of another, compels any person to sexual intercourse or prostitution, shall be sentenced to nine (9) to thirteen (13) years and a fine of sixty-six (66) to seven fifty (750) legal monthly minimum wage.
Article 215. Repealed by Act 747 of 2002, art 4.
Article 216. Amended by Act 1236 of 2008, art. 10. Aggravating Circumstances. The penalties for the offenses described in the previous articles, be increased by one third to one half when the conduct:
1. They are committed on a person under fourteen (14) years.
2 They are committed in order to carry the victim abroad.
3 Amended by Act 1257 of 2008, article 31. They are committed on relative up to the fourth degree of consanguinity, affinity, or first quarter of calendar on spouse or partner or life partner, or against any person who is found to be permanently integrated into the household, or taking advantage of the trust of the victim in the author or in one or more of the participants. For the purposes specified in this article, the affinity is derived from any form of marriage or cohabitation.
4. When the victim is a person of the elderly or physically disabled, sensory, or psychic.
4. Added by Act 1257 of 2008, art. 31. Is committed on vulnerable people because of their age, ethnicity, physical disability, mental or sensory, occupation or trade.
Article 217. Amended by Act 1236 of 2008, art. 11. Encouraging Child Prostitution. The to allocate, lease, hold, manage or finance house or establishment for the practice of sexual acts involving minors, shall be sentenced to ten (10) to fourteen (14) years and a fine of sixty-six (66) seven hundred fifty (750) legal monthly minimum wage. The penalty shall be increased by one-third to half when the offender is a member of the family of the victim.
Article 217A. Added by Law 1329 of 2009, Article 3. Demand for commercial sexual exploitation of persons under 18 years of age. Whether directly or through third party, requests or demands make intercourse or sexual acts with a person under 18 years by payment or promise of payment in cash, kind or compensation of any nature incurred by this fact alone, in penalty imprisonment for fourteen (14) to twenty (25) years. Paragraph. The consent of a victim under 18, do not constitute grounds for exemption from criminal liability.
The penalty is increased by one third to one half:
1. If the behavior is executed by a tourist or national or foreign travelers.
Two. If the conduct constituted for marriage or cohabitation, servile or forced.
Three. If the conduct is committed by a member of an armed group outside the law.
April. If the act is committed on a person under fourteen (14) years of age.
May. The responsible is a member of the family of the victim.
Article 218. Amended by Act 1336 of 2009, art. 24. Pornography with persons under 18 years. That photograph, film, record, produce, disseminate, provide, sell, buy, possess, size, store, transmit or display by any means, for personal use or exchange of real representations of sexual activity involving a person under 18 years of age, shall be sentenced to 10–20 years and a fine of 150-1500 legal monthly minimum wage. The same penalty shall apply to anyone who feed child pornography Internet databases, with or without profit. The penalty shall be increased by one-third to half when the offender is a member of the family of the victim's family.
Article 219. Amended by Act 1336 of 2009, art. 23. Sexual tourism. Who directs, organizes or promotes tourist activities that include sexual use of children liable to imprisonment of four (4) to eight (8) years. The penalty is increased by half when the conduct been effected with less than twelve (14) years.
Article 219A. Amended by Act 1329 of 2009, art. April. Use or facilitation of media to provide sexual activities with persons under 18 years. Whoever uses or facilitates the mail, global information networks, telephone or any other means of communication, to obtain, solicit, offer or facilitate contact or for sexual activity with a person under 18 years of age, shall be punished by imprisonment ten (10) to fourteen (14) years and a fine of sixty-seven (67) to (750) legal monthly minimum wage. The penalties prescribed in the preceding paragraph shall be increased by half (1/2) when the behaviors are effected with less than fourteen (14) years.
Article 219B. Failure to report. He who, by reason of his office, function, or activity, he learns of the use of children to perform any of the acts provided for in this chapter and omits to inform the competent administrative or judicial authorities on such facts, having the legal duty to do so will incur a fine of ten (10) to fifty (50) legal monthly minimum wage. If the conduct been effected by a public servant, was sanctioned with a job loss. See Act 679 of 2001, art. 35
The Colombian Civil Code Articles 113 to 151 provides all provisions relating to marriage. According to Article 116 of those over 18 years old can marry freely. Articles 117 and 140 provide that adolescents between 14 and 18 may marry with their parents' permission.
The age of consent in Curaçao is 15, as specified by the Criminal Code of the Netherlands Antilles (which Sint Maarten didn't change after the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles), Articles 251, which reads:
Art 251: "A person who, out of wedlock, with a person who has reached the age of twelve but has not reached fifteen, performs indecent acts comprising or including sexual penetration of the body is liable to a term of imprisonment of not more than sixteen years".
For children 12-15 prosecution only takes place upon a "complaint" by the minor, his parents, teacher, or the guardianship board.
The minimum age of consent in Ecuador is 14, regardless of gender and/or sexual orientation. However, sexual acts with children aged between 14 and 18 can still be prosecuted. A person who uses "seduction or deception" to gain the consent of an underage girl can be prosecuted under the Estupro law; when consent is obtained through exploitative means the act can be prosecuted under the Childhood and Adolescence Code of 2003- Article 68.
The age of consent of 14 is defined by the Ecuatorian Penal Code, article 512, item 1, for the crime of statutory rape (violación), and also by article 506 for the crime of indecent assault (atentado contra el pudor) without violence or threats. Sexual intercourse with a child younger than 14 is considered rape, regardless of circumstances:
Art. 512.- Violación es el acceso carnal, con introducción parcial o total del miembro viril, por vía vaginal, anal o bucal, con personas de uno u otro sexo, en los siguientes casos:
1.- Cuando la víctima fuere menor de catorce años;
2.- Cuando la persona ofendida se hallare privada de la razón o del sentido, o cuando por enfermedad o por cualquier otra causa no pudiera resistirse; y,
3.- Cuando se usare de violencia, amenaza o de intimidación
(Approximate translation:) Article 512 .- Rape is sexual intercourse with the partial or total introduction of the penis in the vagina, anus or mouth of people of either sex, in the following circumstances:
1 .- When the victim is under fourteen;
2 .- If the victim is found to be deprived of reason or judgment, or when they could not resist due to illness;
3 .- When using violence, threats or intimidation
There is also a clause about corruption of minors (articles 509 and 510 of the Penal Code), for a crime called “estupro”, which applies specifically when consent to sexual relations with female adolescents between 14 and 18 is obtained by the means of seduction or deceit. The adolescent, however, must fit the definition of “honest woman” for the crime to be applied.
Article 509 reads:
Art. 509.- Llámase estupro la cópula con una mujer honesta, empleando la seducción o engaño para alcanzar su consentimiento.
(Approximate translation:) Article 509:- Estupro is intercourse with an honest woman, using seduction or deception to achieve her consent.
Moreover, the Childhood and Adolescence Code of 2003, in its Article 68, have broadened the definition of sexual abuse of minors to include any physical contact or suggestion of sexual nature obtained through seduction, blackmail, harassment, deceit, threat or similar means.
Falkland Islands (UK)
Age of sexual consent is 16 for heterosexual couples and lesbians, 18 for homosexual males.
The age of consent in Guyana is 16. The age of consent was raised from 13 to 16 on October 31, 2005, by a unanimous resolution of the Guyanese parliament. Whilst male homosexual 'indecency' and all attempted anal sex carries a 10 year sentence, anal sex itself is punishable with life imprisonment. Female homosexual activity is not mentioned in the 1860 “buggery laws”.
The general age of consent in Paraguay is 14 for heterosexual relations and 16 for homosexual relations. The age of consent for extramarital intercourse with female adolescents is 16 (see below) .
Article 135 of the Paraguayan Penal Code, which covers the sexual abuse of children, defines child (“niño”), for the purposes of the article, as anyone under 14 (see 8th clause). Sexual acts in general with a child under 14 are punished with up to three years in prison or a fine (1st clause). The same penalties occur when sexual acts are performed by the adult before someone under 14 or are headed to him, or when the child is induced to practice it (with another child) before an adult or with a third person. In case of sexual penetration (“coito”), the term is aggravated to three to twelve years in prison (4th clause). If the victim is under 10, penalties may increase in up to fifteen extra years (4th clause, changed by Law 3440/2008). When the offender is under 18, accusations may be lifted (6th clause).
Article 138 of the same Code, called “Homosexual acts with minors”, reads: “Who, being over the age of majority, performs sexual acts with a person of the same sex between the ages of 14 and 16, will be punished with up to two years in prison or with fine”.(see, click link in "texto completo").
Marriage and adultery
There is also a further crime called estupro (Article 137), which is defined as “extramarital sex” (adultery) practiced with female adolescents between 14 and 16. This crime is punished with a fine and applies when one of the partners is married. If the offender is under 18, accusations may be lifted.
Article 137 of the Penal Code reads: “(1) The man who persuades a woman from 14 to 16 to perform extramarital coitus (sexual intercourse) will be punished with fine; (2) When the defendant is under 18 the penalty may be disconsidered.” (see sources above).
On the other side, the Avert.org website affirms that Paraguay’s general age of consent is 16 outside of wedlock and 14 only in case of marriage, due to a probable misinterpretation of the law cited above. The website provides no legal sources.
The age of consent in Peru is 14. The age of consent has changed several times during recent years. The age of consent was raised to 18 in 2006, from 14. In 2007, Peru's Congress voted overwhelmingly to return the age to its prior age of 14, regardless of gender and/or sexual orientation, however, due to great controversy, the bill was 'reconsidered' or withdrawn. However the Constitutional Court of Peru, newly lowers the age of consent to 14.
According to Article 173 of the Peruvian Penal Code, as modified by Law Nº 28704 (in Spanish) sexual intercourse as well as analogous acts introducing objects or body parts are punished differently depending on the age of the young person – life sentence when the young person is under 10, from 30 to 35 years of prison when the young person is between 10 and 13, and from 25 to 30 years of prison when the young person is between 14 and 17. When the offender is in position of “particular authority” or trust over the victim, including parental bonds, the punishment is also a life sentence for the latter two.
There is also a crime called seduction (seducción) in Article 175 as modified by Law Nº 28251 (in Spanish), which applies to sexual intercourse (or similar) obtained by the means of deceit, with teenagers between 14 and 18. The punishment is 3 to 5 years of prison.
A further crime called “Indecent assault on minors” (actos contra el pudor en menores) is seen in Article 176-A, and applies in situations in which the offender performs an act or causes the minor under 14 years of age to perform an act upon him or herself or another that involves improper touching of the "intimate parts" or general indecent lewdness without intention of engaging in sexual intercourse or similar. This crime is punished differently depending on the age of the victim – from 7 to 10 years of prison when the victim is under 7, from 6 to 9 years of prison when the victim is between 7 and 9, and from 6 to 8 years of prison when the victim is between 10 and 13. When the offender is in position of “particular authority” or trust over the victim, including parental bonds, the punishment is from 10 to 12 years of prison.
Therapeutical treatment is also required in article 178-A – after medical examination – for all sexual offenders in order to facilitate his social readaptation.
Article 184 provides equal punishment for anyone who cooperates in any of these crimes by abuse of authority, charge or trust over the minor, including any family.
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (UK)
Age of sexual consent is sixteen for heterosexual couples and lesbians, eighteen for homosexual males.
The age of consent in Suriname is 16 for heterosexual boys and girls and for all same-sex sexual relations the age of consent is 18 under section 302, even though section 302 is hardly ever enforced.
Trinidad and Tobago
- Section 7. Sexual intercourse with a female between fourteen and sixteen years
Where a male person has sexual intercourse with a female person with her consent and who has attained the age of fourteen years but has not yet attained the age of sixteen, he is guilty of an offence, and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for twelve years, for a first offence and to imprisonment for fifteen years for a subsequent offence.
A male person is not guilty of an offence under subsection (1) – (a) if he honestly believed that the female person was sixteen years of age or more; or (b) if the male person is not more than three years older than the female person and the court is of the opinion that the evidence discloses that as between the male person and the female person, the male person is not wholly or chiefly to blame.
- Section 8. Sexual Intercourse with a male under sixteen years.
Where a female adult has sexual intercourse with a male person who is not her husband and who is under the age of sixteen years, she is guilty of an offence, whether or not the male person consented to the intercourse, and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for five years.
A female adult is not guilty of an offence under subsection (1) – (a) if she honestly believed that the male person was sixteen years of age or more; or (b) if the female adult is not more than three years older than the male person and the court is of the opinion that the evidence discloses that as between the female person and the male person, the female person is not wholly or chiefly to blame.
Between the ages of 12 and 15, there is an intermediary status where violence is legally presumed until otherwise proven. In this case, the onus probandi (the burden of proof) shifts from the plaintiff to the accused, who still has the chance to prove in their defense that consent was given. Below the age of 12 proof of consent is not a defense.
Uruguay also has a Corruption of minors law, which can bring charges to those manipulating minors below the age of 18 into having sexual relations -. For ages over 15, however, a lawsuit can be initiated only by a minor or the minor's parents, except when the minor has no parents or legal guardian; or where the accusation is brought against a parent or legal guardian.
The age of consent in Venezuela stands at 16 regardless of gender and/or sexual orientation. Sexual acts with children aged between 12 and 16 are punished under Article 379; furthermore, consensual sex with a woman 16-21 can be punished if the woman was "seduced" under the promise of marriage and she was "known to be honest".
Artículo 379 del Código Penal Venezolano:
" El que tuviere acto carnal con persona mayor de doce (12) y menor de dieciséis (16) años, o ejecutare en ella actos lascivos sin ser su ascendiente tutor ni institutor y aunque no medie ninguna de las circunstancias previstas en el Artículo 375, será castigado con prisión de seis a dieciocho meses y la pena será doble si el author del delito es el primero que corrompe a la persona agraviada.
El acto carnal ejecutado en mujer mayor de dieciséis (16) años y menor de veintiuno (21), con su consentimiento, es punible cuando hubiere seducción con promesa matrimonial y la mujer fuere conocidamente honesta ; en tal caso la pena será de seis meses a un año de prisión.
Approximate translation: Article 379: "Anyone who engages in sexual acts with a person aged at least twelve (12) but less than sixteen (16) years or performs lewd acts with her, without being an ascendant or guardian and in the absence of any of the circumstances described in Article 375, shall be punished with imprisonment of six to eighteen months and the penalty is doubled if the offender is the first who corrupts the victim.
The sexual acts performed upon a woman older than sixteen (16) years and younger than twenty-one (21), with her consent, are punishable if there was seduction with the promise of marriage and the women was known to be honest, in such case the penalty is six months to one year in prison.
- Age of consent
- Age of consent reform
- Ages of consent in Africa
- Ages of consent in Asia
- Age of consent in Brazil
- Ages of consent in Oceania
- Ages of consent in Europe
- Ages of consent in North America
- http://www.unifr.ch/ddp1/derechopenal/?menu=legislacion - This address shows a list organized by the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, presenting links to the Penal Codes and criminal legislation of 32 countries, mostly Latin American and European countries. The list comprises all South American countries, except for Guyana and Suriname.
- "Wetboek van Aruba" (in Dutch). Government of the Aruba. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
- (Spanish) Aprueban en Bolivia ley que consiente relaciones sexuales a niños de 12 años
- Brazilian justice system frees man, 18, arrested for publicly kissing young teenager, 13 — 'Últimas Notícias' (Last News) - MSN Estadão. Online version of Estadão newspaper. (Portuguese)
- (Portuguese) Brazilian Penal Code - official text (see Article 217-A)
- (Portuguese) Fonte do Saber - Violência sexual presumida para menores de 14 anos
- (Portuguese) A problemática da presunção de violência nos crimes contra os costumes (The matter of presumption of violence in crimes against morals) (Prudente, Neemias Moretti – Boletim Jurídico, Edição 201)
- (Portuguese) http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/Decreto-Lei/Del2848.htm (Penal Code of 1940, old version showing changes – Articles 218 and 225)
- "Wetboek van Strafrecht bes". Government of the Netherlands. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
- "Wetboek van de Nederlandse Antillen" (in Dutch). Government of the Netherlands. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
- (Spanish) PDF (1.04 MB)
- (Spanish) http://www.noraruoti.com.py/cd/juridica/protegido/OtrasLeyes/Ley116097.htm
- (Spanish) PDF (click on PDF file in “texto completo”)
- Global Legal Information Network
- Lindsay Goldwert (2007-06-22). "Peru Lowers Age Of Consent To 14". CBS NEWS. Retrieved 2009-12-02.
- "Pleno Reconsidero Exoneracion de Sedunda Votacion a Proyecto Sobre Libertad Sexual" [House Reconsidered and Excluded Second Vote for Project on Sexual Freedom] (in Spanish). El Heraldo. 2007-06-27. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
- "Demanda de inconstitucionalidad interpuesta por diez mil seiscientos nueve ciudadanos contra el artículo 1° de la Ley N° 28704 que modifica el artículo 173°, inciso 3° del Código Penal, sobre delito de violación sexual contra víctima entre 14 y 18 años de edad" (in Spanish). 2013-01-07.
- Uruguayan Penal Code Articles 272 and 267
- (see article 272, “1” of the Penal Code)
- Uruguayan Penal Code Article 274
- (see article 279 of the Penal Code)