A Brazilian teenager has made global headlines after announcing that she plans on selling her virginity to the highest bidder.
If you think you've heard this story before, think again. While Catarina Migliorini, who agreed to allow a Japanese businessman to deflower her for $780,000, auctioned herself for fame and fortune, compatriot Rebecca Bernardo has a more noble motive for selling off her virginity.
Bernardo, an 18-year-old high school student from Sapeaçu, about 100 miles (162 km) west of Salvador in the state of Bahia, is taking the extraordinary step so she can help cover the mounting costs of her mother's medical bills. The woman suffered a stroke earlier in 2012 and is bed-ridden and requires extensive treatment and a caretaker.
Her mother does not approve of her plan and has urged her to find other employment.
"She should look for work. She should not prostitute herself," the ill woman said.
But the jobs available to an 18-year-old in impoverished northeastern Brazil barely cover the cost of paying a caretaker.
"I made up my mind right after my 18th birthday," Bernardo told CNN through a translator, saying she was inspired by Catarina Migliorini's story. "There comes a time when you have to make decisions to get what you want," the teen added. "You have to be strong."
After posting a YouTube video explaining her plight and her decision, Bernardo has received bids as high as $35,000 to sleep with her for her first time.
A Brazilian TV station offered to cover the girl's medical expenses if she cancelled the auction, but the deal never happened because Bernardo also seeks money to pay for her mother's relocation to a city where she can receive better medical treatment.
The reaction in the small farming town where Bernardo lives was hostile.
"When she first started the auction, people in the streets threw coins at her," a local mechanic told CNN.
But some neighbors, who said the girl lost her older sister a few years ago and never knew her father, expressed their support.
"She had no one to go to, no one to help," one woman said. "This is the only solution she found."
As for Migliorini, she has been unable to consummate her deal, by which she was supposed to have sex with the Japanese man 'Natsu' on a flight from Australia to Japan to avoid prostitution laws, due to visa issues. Meanwhile, Brazil's attorney general wants to open a human trafficking investigation against Justin Sisley, the man who helped her auction her virginity. On the upside, the 20-year-old appears on this month's cover of Brazilian Playboy.