Venezuelan migrant trafficking grows worldwide due to humanitarian emergency

Photo: Federico Parra- AFP


International networks involved in trafficking Venezuelans have expanded to at least 19 countries, taking advantage of the humanitarian crisis that is plaguing the country under the Nicolás Maduro regime.

By Dialogo – Digital Military Magazine

Aug 13, 2021

This is one of the main revelations in the U.S. Department of State’s latest report on human trafficking. The document, released in the first week of July, indicates that in 2020 authorities found cases of Venezuelan migrant trafficking and exploitation in Aruba, the Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curaçao, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Spain, Guyana, Haiti, Iceland, Macao, México, Panama, Peru, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

An example is the story of Katherin, who, according to the report, paid $1,500 to leave Venezuela for Guyana. She had received a job offer as a bilingual employee at a store in the capital, Georgetown. When she arrived, the reality was different: She was forced to stay in the same house as her boss, and not in the free rental apartment that was promised her. After three months she had only saved $23.

According to Sara Fernández, a researcher at the Venezuelan human rights nongovernmental organization (NGO) Center for Justice and Peace (Cepaz, in Spanish), the humanitarian crisis engulfing Venezuela since 2016 makes potential migrants “easy preys” for organized human trafficking and exploitation networks.

“They tell them that if they leave, they can rebuild their lives […]. The lack of IDs means that when they arrive at the country of destination, they cannot move around, and it is difficult for them to report [the situation],” the NGO representative said.

In general, authorities do not officially report on cases detected in Venezuela, but word gets out informally, through social networks. However, on July 30, the prosecutor appointed by the former National Constituent Assembly, Tarek William Saab, revealed that his office had registered a total of 696 trafficking victims among Venezuelan migrants from 2017 to 2021.

According to the Cepaz spokesperson, due to progressive international isolation, Venezuela does not actively take part in coordination mechanisms for the fight against the networks that facilitate the transfer and exploitation of Venezuelans abroad.

Read More: Dialogo – Digital Military Magazine – Venezuelan migrant trafficking grows worldwide due to humanitarian emergency

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