Women fleeing socialist Venezuela have taken to capitalism in order to survive; selling sex, hair and breastmilk as they make the perilous journey into neighboring Colombia in search of a better life.
As Fox News’ Hollie McKay reports, the Colombian border city of Cucuta is virtual chaos – as “Rail-thin women cradle their tiny babies, and beg along the trash-strewn gutters. Teens hawk everything from cigarettes to sweets and water for small change.”
The young, the old and the disabled cluster around the lone Western Union office – recently established to deal with the Venezuelan influx – in the hopes of receiving or sending a few dollars to send home. Without passports or work permits, the Venezuelans – many with university degrees or decent jobs in what was once the wealthiest nation in Latin America – are now resorting to whatever it takes to survive. –Fox News
Men buying hair approach groups of women with their young children, offering them enough to feed their families for a short while. Local wigmakers in Colombia will pay between $10 – $30, depending on length and quality.
Other Venezuelan women – including girls as young as 14, resort to sex work on the streets of Cucuta – earning around seven dollars per john.
Both men and women are exposed to sex trafficking along the route from Venezuela to Colombia. According to several walkers, some women “chose” prostitution as a means to make money and earn rides along the way. And some heterosexual men “sell themselves on the gay market” for a little money.
Other women are manipulated or forced into giving “pimp types” their documents and identification cards, and are subsequently drawn into prostitution rings. That’s particularly the case in border areas, where many rebel and drug-trafficking groups operate. –Fox News
Back home in Venezuela, the situation is dire – as the socialist country suffers from starvation, disease, a lack of healthcare and extreme violence. Children have been dying from hepatitis and malaria.
“There is a human catastrophe in Venezuela. There is a resurgence of illnesses that were eradicated decades ago. Hundreds have died from measles and diphtheria. Last year, more than 400,000 Venezuelans presented malaria symptoms. Up to now, there are over 10,000 sick people from tuberculosis,” said Caracas mayor and former political prisoner Antonio Ledezma, adding: “People have been doomed to death. More than 55,000 cancer patients don’t have access to chemotherapy. Every three hours a woman dies due to breast cancer.”
Caterine Martinez, an attorney, and director of the Prepara Familias (Ready Families) organization in Venezuela – which endeavors to support hospitalized children and their families and caregivers – concurred that the public health care issue in the country is nothing short of “severe.”
“Currently there are no broad-spectrum antibiotics, not even basic antibiotics to treat basic pathogens from children and present chronic illnesses,” she said. “We don’t have x-rays working, they haven’t for a long time. We don’t have a CAT scanner or an MRI scanner. Many other vital medical instruments don’t work. The municipal blood banks don’t have reagents, therefore we have kids who are getting blood transfusions and are getting infected with hepatitis C and could even be injected with HIV.” –Fox News