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Venezuelan women turn to prostitution to feed their families



They speak with pain in their voices and sadness in their eyes. At first reluctant, they finally open up and tell through tears how they came into a situation that was once unimaginable: the sale of their bodies to make ends meet.

Mariza, a trained nurse, made the trip across the border from Venezuela to Colombia two years ago, leaving behind her mother and three children. Like most immigrants with a career background, she expected to find a job in her own area, but when her doors were repeatedly closed and even a cleaning job was not found, Mariza made an impossible decision.

"Having one man and another tomorrow," she says of her fall into prostitution, is not easy and dangerous. But as a mother "you do not think ̵

1; you do what you have to do". Mariza's name was changed to protect her identity, as were other names in this report.

Disappointment sounds in her voice as she talks about her time in education and can not work as a nurse. "It's frustrating because you realize you've been working, study and prepare for five years of my life – I feel like it's been five years I've lost because I can not practice," she said, tears running down her face over her face.

At home she was a woman with a career and a dream, but the crisis in Venezuela created a downward spiral that she could not control.

A certified nurse, she only got 15 days' work enough to buy a sack of flour. A normal grocery run became a two-day ordeal, and even then there was no guarantee that Mariza could find the needed items like diapers for her baby.

According to Mariza, people spent the night outside the shops, waiting to get a number the next morning. With a ticket in hand, customers would wait outside to buy what the store might have had that day. "They had no choice but to buy what was in stock," she said.

"We have always voted for Chavez"

For years, the Venezuelans supported President Nicolás Maduro, who, like his predecessor Hugo Chavez, used the country's oil wealth to finance social programs. But as the oil price started to fall and the economy wavered, many Venezuelans protested against the hand that fed them.

Mariza is among them. Her entire family supported Chavez. "We have always voted in favor of Chavez," she said, accusing both the former president and the incumbent president for mismanagement of the country that led to the crisis.

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In the past "there was no hunger, there was no shortage of it There was no breakup, "said Mariza, explaining that if things were good, you leave the country on vacation, not out of necessity.

The desperate needs of her family brought her here to Cucuta – a border town with one of the highest unemployment rates in Colombia – where she struggles daily to get enough food to feed, diapers and basic supplies for her mother and children.

If her mother found out what she was doing, would she understand that? "My mother is a great mother. My mother is everything, "she said in a croaking voice," and I know that on the day she finds out, for whatever reason, it will hurt, but she will not judge me. "

"I'm doing things that do not look good to survive"

The economic crisis has forced Venezuelans from all walks of life to search their land for food, medicine and one leave better lives, and neighboring Colombia feels the effects.

More than three million Venezuelans have left their homes, with one million emigrating to neighboring Colombia, UNHCR said in November. Former lawyer Malcia arrived over a week ago and left her two children behind with their 64-year-old parents.

"I could only afford to have breakfast, sometimes just lunch, and sometimes they go to bed without food, they go to school, I even do the impossible," she said, finding it hard to move on to speak the reality of her new life.

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She came to Colombia hoping to get a job as a cleaner, Babysitter and "everything" to find. Even with the doors closed on her face, she could never imagine "reaching that extreme." She wiped her tears and said, "When I was in Venezuela, I was on the verge of going crazy, and I also go crazy here because I do things that do not look good to survive." [19659002] It is a burden that constantly burdens her. "I kneel at night to ask God – I was even in church to ask God for forgiveness – because I think of the little faces of my children, my parents … It's not easy, my friend, not easy" she said.

"I am a child raising a child"

Not only working women are desperate. In the sea thousands of migrants are younger women like Erica, who could not find a job. The 17-year-old Erica sells her body to take care of her seven-month-old son, whom she carried in her arms across the Colombian border.

Finding work in Cúcuta, with its high unemployment rate, proved difficult, and being a minor, it was even more difficult, she says. Therefore, she received this "option – the worst there is".

If Maduro and his government were not, she would study to become a veterinarian. And though she had to let go of her dream, she said that as a mother, she would do anything.

"I would not leave my child without a diaper without a bottle," she said. At the end of the day, she said, "I am a mother, but I consider myself a child raising a child."


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