by Eugenia Tovar, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

by Eugenia Tovar, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

From Woman to Migrant to Sex Worker: A Venezuelan reality

23 Nov, 2018

by Eugenia Tovar, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

You do not have to be a scholar to know that for thousands of years people have migrated from different areas of the world to other -perhaps- unknown territories. To migrate means to leave everything behind, and of course, it can be very hard, especially when it could also mean that you must become another version of yourself - in order to survive.

Why am I talking about migration? Because even in the 21st century, millions of individuals have had to migrate from their home country in order to escape from poverty, diseases, wars, famine, and a long list of etc’s.

Sometimes you start afresh, and sometimes -for the sake of survival - you must do things you would not have done in your previous life, such as becoming a sex worker.

Have you ever wondered what is going through the mind of a sex worker? Have you asked yourself why they have made the decision to sell their bodies to whoever can afford it? Is it to help their personal economy? Their family’s economy? Or maybe they are sex workers because they enjoy selling their bodies? Is it a normal thing to do? Is it a hidden pleasure? Or are they brutally obliged to do so?

What’s more, have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a country where basic Human Rights were continuously disregarded? This, of course, means that sex workers are at the bottom of the line in regards to the ‘distribution’ of Human Rights.

This is the case in Venezuela...or at least for Venezuelan women who have had to flee their own country in order to find a glimpse of hope in other neighbouring territories...we are talking about mothers, daughters, sisters, even grandmothers who have made the tough decision to become sex workers in order to escape poverty and hunger in Venezuela.

The most common destination for these women is Venezuela’s neighbour country, Colombia, who has opened its borders to over 1 million Venezuelans over the last two years. Some of these sex workers have studied and obtained degrees at their local universities, but because they do not have the correct legal documentation to stay in Colombia, they are not able to get a job in the areas that they have specialized on.

Most of these women are working in what are called ‘’Red areas of Colombia’’ which means that they are constantly surrounded by the FARC (the Guerrilla movement of the South American country), drugs (especially cocaine and heroin are everywhere) and violence from another group of men which are the Narcos of the area. So, not only do they find themselves to be in a vulnerable state of mind because they have left their home countries, but they are now in the constant struggle of making a living under these very unfortunate circumstances.

What’s more appalling is the fact that they do not have a choice. They usually earn around USD $11 to $16 a day, (which is almost a month’s salary in their native country, Venezuela), and after paying out USD $2,3,4 to the owner of the brothel, they still have to send money to their families back home...as it is very likely these women have left sons and daughters, husbands, and parents behind.