In the past year, Venezuela has been marred by economic instability, a tyrannical and oppressive government, and cries of protesters in the streets.
The Socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro has left Venezuela with a crippled economy, food shortages, thousands arrested, and many dead Venezuelans.
When the people speak, Maduro silences them with riot police.
Besides social unrest, the economic crises has become so bad that teachers and physicians are actually turning to prostitution to make ends meet.
According to the Miami Herald, Columbian brothel owner Gabriel Sanchez shared former professions of current prostitutes “at a squat, concrete brothel on the muddy banks of the Arauca River”:
“We’ve got lots of teachers, some doctors, many professional women and one petroleum engineer,” he yelled
over the din of vallenato music. “All of them showed up with their degrees in hand.”
And all of them came from Venezuela.
As Venezuela’s economy continues to collapse amid food shortages, hyperinflation and U.S. sanctions, waves of economic refugees have fled the country. Those with the means have gone to places like Miami, Santiago and Panama.
The less fortunate find themselves walking across the border into Colombia looking for a way, any way, to keep themselves and their families fed. A recent study suggested as many as 350,000 Venezuelans had entered Colombia in the last six years.
But with jobs scarce, many young — and not so young — women are turning to the world’s oldest profession to make ends meet.
After the government seizes and loots private factories and businesses, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans, broke and unemployed, traveled to the closest job opportunity.
Indeeed, Gabriel Sanchez started this brothel in Arauca, Columbus after he lost his job in Venezuela.
Many mothers are looking for a decent paying opportunity while still remaining close enough to the Venezuelan border to send food and money back to their children.
Dayana, a 30-year-old mother of four, nursed a beer as she watched potential clients walk down the dirt road that runs in front of wooden shacks, bars and bordellos. Dressed for work in brightly-colored spandex, Dayana said she used to be the manager of a food-processing plant on the outskirts of Caracas.
But that job disappeared after the government seized the factory and “looted it,” she said.
Seven months ago, struggling to put food on the table, she came to Colombia looking for work. Without an employment permit, she found herself working as a prostitute in the capital, Bogotá. While the money was better there, she eventually moved to Arauca, a cattle town of 260,000 people along the border with Venezuela, because it was easier to send food back to her children in Caracas.
Now, Dayana brings home anywhere between $50-$100 dollars “on a good night” when she sells “her services 20 minutes at a time.”
She isn’t proud of what she is doing but she is thankful to be able to provide for her family. And do so legally.
Sanchez told reporters that 99 percent of the prostitutes there are Venezuelan, Earning money to pay for food, medicine, and shelter.
At what point should other countries step in to stop this humanitarian crisis in Venezuela?