A series of police raids on Brazil’s largest open-air drug market has dispersed drug dealers, users and its notorious intense poverty to other areas of Sao Paulo, the country’s most-populous city.
Known locally as Cracolândia, literally Crackland in Portuguese, this down-trodden area in the city center had served as a drug-hawking hub since the 1990s, drawing in between 500 to 800 people during the day, according to estimates, and many more after sunset.
Some of those who frequented Cracolândia have moved over to the nearby Plaza Princesa Isabel, which during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic became a makeshift camp for the city’s homeless population.
It is now a scene of abject poverty. Its residents erect makeshift shelters using plastic sheets and scour through garbage for food.