RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Dressed in long evening gowns, girls from Rio de Janeiro's Santa Marta "favela" slum have celebrated a fairy-tale evening in a debutante ball sponsored by local police.
The 15-year-old girls were escorted to the ball held in a Copacabana dancehall Friday night by members of the Pacifying Police Unit from their community. The police units have re-conquered slums ruled for decades by drug-dealing gangs.
The girls were coiffed and made up by volunteers, and their dresses were loaned by a formal wear shop.
Debutante balls have been a custom among upper-middle-class and wealthy Brazilian families. They mark a girl's transition from childhood to adulthood.