Informal Trading

Vendors in action in the streets and squares of Brazil in recent decades

Produtores de leite (1948-01) by ZilliFolha de S.Paulo

Street hawking started becoming more widespread in Brazil when the Portuguese Royal Family fled there in 1808. That same year, Prince Regent João signed the Royal Charter of January 28, which authorized ports to be opened up to foreign trade.

The first street hawkers in Brazil were known as escravos de ganho (peddler slaves), who did a variety of jobs to earn money for their owners.

In the photo, milk producers talk to the director general of the Animal Production Department (Departamento de Produção Animal), Valter Jardim, on a road linking the inland cities of Jundiaí and Amparo in São Paulo State.

Vendedores ambulantes (2002-12-23) by Raphael FalavignaFolha de S.Paulo

Crowds of pedestrians wander among the stalls on General Carneiro Street, one of the busiest shopping areas in São Paulo's old town.

Vendedor ambulante (1978-11-26) by U. DettmarFolha de S.Paulo

A street hawker walks between cars on a São Paulo street.

Largo da Concórdia (2004-12-14) by Tuca VieiraFolha de S.Paulo

With their predominantly blue stalls, street hawkers gather in Concórdia Square (Largo da Concórdia), one of the most popular retail districts in downtown São Paulo.

Comércio (1957-07-12)Folha de S.Paulo

Vendors selling sweets, savory snacks, fruit, and vegetables in an unknown location.

Vendedora ambulante (2012-06-21) by Rivaldo GomesFolha de S.Paulo

On June 21, 2012, following a number of protests, the São Paulo Court of Justice (Tribunal de Justiça de São Paulo) granted a preliminary injunction to allow hawkers to return to the streets. In 2012 alone, at least 2,000 street vendors had their right to work withdrawn by São Paulo's City Hall (Prefeitura).

On May 19, 2012, to protect the city's historical heritage and address the claim that sellers were blocking sidewalks, São Paulo's City Hall (Prefeitura) suspended hawker licenses in the neighborhoods of Lapa, Sé, Vila Mariana, Pinheiros, and São Miguel Paulista.

Artesanato da Tribo Pataxó (1998-05-14) by Marcos PeronFolha de S.Paulo

Tumuju, age 9, from the Indigenous Pataxó tribe, sells handicrafts on the historical Coroa Vermelha beach in Santa Cruz Cabrália (Bahia State), where the first mass in Brazil was celebrated on April 26, 1500.

Comércio de ambulantes (1995-08-22) by Eduardo KnappFolha de S.Paulo

A hawker sells transport vouchers (or bus passes) in downtown São Paulo.

Comércio de marcas falsificadas (2000-08-31) by Caio GuatelliFolha de S.Paulo

A hawker sells counterfeit tennis shoes in Concórdia Square (Largo da Concórdia) in downtown São Paulo.

Based on figures produced at the time by the Brazilian Association to Combat Counterfeiting (Associação Brasileira de Combate à Falsificação), the sale of fake goods costs the government 10.5 billion US dollars in lost taxes every year.

Vendedores ambulantes (2002-02-13) by Juca VarellaFolha de S.Paulo

A street hawker sells pirate CDs near São Paulo's 25 de Março Street.

Fotografia (1952-04)Folha de S.Paulo

Street photographers at an unknown location.

Comércio ambulante (1999-12-22) by João WainerFolha de S.Paulo

A man selling mineral water uses a clown's nose and teeth to attract customers on São Paulo's Marginal Tietê freeway.

Vendedor ambulante (1957-04-24)Folha de S.Paulo

Street hawkers in a São Paulo square.

Boulevard Olímpico (2016-08-06) by Eduardo KnappFolha de S.Paulo

A hawker sells cotton candy in Mauá Square, near the Museum of Tomorrow (Museu do Amanhã) in Rio de Janeiro's port district.

Pandemia da Covid-19 (2021-03-01) by Raul SpinasséFolha de S.Paulo

Despite the COVID-19 restrictions imposed by Governor Ibaneis Rocha, street hawkers risk their lives at Brasília's Plano Piloto bus station.

Vendedores ambulantes (1979-12-05) by Claudiomiro TeodoroFolha de S.Paulo

Hawkers set out their merchandise on a street in downtown São Paulo.

Comércio ambulante (2018-05-10) by Bernardo DantasFolha de S.Paulo

A street hawker on the subway in Pernambuco's capital, Recife.

Vendedores ambulantes (2006-07-05) by Rogério CassimiroFolha de S.Paulo

Children's products for sale on stalls in downtown Manaus, capital of Amazonas State.

Comércio popular na rua 25 de Março (2008-06-19) by Filipe RedondoFolha de S.Paulo

A customer haggles over sunglasses with a street hawker on 25 de Março Street in downtown São Paulo.

Engraxate (1957-11) by Antonio Benedito de MouraFolha de S.Paulo

A shoeshine boy at work on Formosa Street in downtown São Paulo.

Mercado informal nos aeroportos (2013-04-11) by Juca VarellaFolha de S.Paulo

Shoeshine boys wander around near the arrivals hall at São Paulo's Congonhas Airport.

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