Gender violence has been one of the most acute problems in Latin America and Venezuela has not escaped from its radar. However, this is not the only problem critically impacting the country. The deep social, economic, political, and humanitarian crisis affecting Venezuela has reached exorbitant levels, which has a direct impact on the lives of all its citizens. Impunity, absence of a justice system, and a lack of respect for fundamental rights are summarized in an ongoing conflictive scenario for all. Moreover, anarchy and authoritarianism have propagated alarming cases of violence against women with little to no hope for possible short-term solutions. Forced migration has separated hundreds of thousands of parents from their children, of all ages, in search for a better quality of life. Most of these children are left behind, abandoned or unprotected, as orphans. Finally, modern slavery reflected in forced prostitution and women trafficking is a new worrisome factor to be included in this complex scenario that has resulted from the severe crisis and massive Venezuelan exodus. According to the latest report of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the figure of Venezuelan refugees and migrants is around 4 million people, which represents the second largest group of displaced population in the country.
Video courtesy of United Nations Population Fund
“They can kidnap you or force you to go into prostitution. At some point, there is a need to talk to someone, and I will always think: Will that be a good or a bad person? A lone woman runs all the existing risks in the world.”
Britney is one of the millions of people who have faced countless challenges when leaving Venezuela just to secure a better future for themselves. Many women and adolescents have bound together in groups to help one another, but this strategy does not offer sufficient protection. Fear and threats are always present.
In the first few weeks of 2019, UNFPA registered and assisted 21 cases of violence against Venezuelan women at the Border’s Binational Attention Center, known by the Spanish acronym CEBAF.
By Virginia Giunta