But, now with the pandemic, we are in limbo, we are stuck in Colombiaand hungry again.
We have gone from one crisis to another. An estimated 4.
And as refugees, it is women who have been the most vulnerable to labour and sexual exploitation, trafficking and violence. The backbone working class marched out of Venezuela largely on foot, their worldly possessions stuffed into black bin liners or rolled behind them in suitcases, travelling along arterial ro and highways to cross the borders — legally and illegally — into countries now shouldering the crisis.
Coronavirus exacerbated the problem of illegal entry and forced los caminante s the walkers to take to informal trail ro, or trochasas lockdowns across South America closed borders. I have had several propositions to sell myself in order to feed my children.
Life conditions have turned from bad to worse, especially for hundreds of adolescent girls from impoverished and migrant households.
Little has been done by the international community or national governments to address gender-specific issues. Ecuador brought in mandatory quarantine in April, but by May Venezuelan girls were forced out of brothels and on to street corners in Machala, near the Peruvian border, in search of clients. Quarantine measures have meant they are unable to generate enough income for their families back in Venezuela, or even to sustain themselves.
Medical services available to sex workers before lockdown have dried up. Health centres have all but stopped giving out condoms and health checks. With little help available from humanitarian agencies, refugees left destitute at borders with Peru, Ecuador and Colombia are faced with the decision of either waiting the pandemic out or heading home. We are also seeing an increase in irregular armed groups forcibly recruiting both boys and girls as young as 10 for the purposes of trafficking. The world needs to acknowledge these horrible situations, and to act, to improve the levels of humanitarian response.
Meanwhile, traffickers, brothel proprietors, hotel concierges, contraband smugglers and taxi drivers all take their cut from the exploitation of women and young girls. Without urgent international intervention this is set to continue as the of Venezuelan refugees is predicted to exceed 6 million by the end of the year.
This article was amended on 13 August Global development. A dollar for sex: Venezuela's women tricked and trafficked. One of many brothels in the Colombian border town of Arauca, where failing to pay protection money can cost your life.
Global development is supported by. Paddy Dowling.
Thu 30 Jul Reuse this content.