When people are forced to flee their homes, they are at greater risk of exploitation. Human trafficking has been a persistent problem in Latin America and the Caribbean. However, the continuing exodus of Venezuelans—the largest in recent history in the Western Hemisphere—demands urgent and increased attention to human trafficking prevention and response. As of June , more than 4 million Venezuelans have fled the economic and political chaos of their country. Victimized by widespread crime and targeted political persecution, Venezuelans continue to flee the country in search of safety and to meet some of their most basic needs.
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Some Venezuelan Refugees Resort to Sex Work in Colombia to Survive | Voice of America - English
See part I and part III. While most of the 5 million Venezuelans who have left the country in recent years face serious challenges abroad, displaced women and girls are at a disproportionately high risk of violence and exploitation. As the crisis has deepened, the demographics of Venezuelan migrants and refugees has shifted , with more women and families of a lower socioeconomic status leaving. These women not only have greater difficulty finding formal employment in their host countries, but also face a heightened threat of sex trafficking, sexual slavery, and other forms of exploitation by criminal groups.
Prostitution in Venezuela
The year-old traveled 22 hours from La Guaira in Venezuela to work in Cucuta. Gabriela was not unaware of the job awaiting her. Like many others working in the sex industry in Cucuta, she'd heard about the opportunity from others who had already made the perilous journey across the border. Like many Venezuelans who fled their country, Gabriela says she had little choice. The mother of a small child, Gabriela says while living in Venezuela, she did "not have the resources for diapers or milk.
Sex work in Venezuela is legal and regulated. The country's Ministry of Health and Social Development requires sex workers to carry identification cards and to have monthly health checkups. Prostitution is common, particularly in Caracas and in other domestic tourist destinations. Sex work in Venezuela is closely tied to its economic history and the history of oil production.