Caracas, Jul 6 (EFE) .- The economic crisis that has Venezuela mired in more than a five-year period of poverty has turned “many” women into exchange merchandise for crimes such as human trafficking and forced prostitution, an alarming situation. , according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The UNFPA national representative, Jorge Caro, explained to Efe that although Venezuela has no special mention in the recent world report prepared by that agency, there are several “alarms” about gender inequalities and other “harmful practices” against women in the country .
The study includes a description of “abusive masculinity”, an indicator “difficult” to explain but which is “installed” in Venezuelan society and which goes unnoticed despite being translated into multiple forms of violence against women.
During the first half of the year, she said, “there have been more femicides than deaths from COVID-19 in Venezuela,” a figure collected by non-governmental organizations that put the number of murders of women at 108 in the same period of time in which the country accounted for less than 60 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic.
“That indicates to you that there is a serious problem and that there is a harmful practice that we have to denounce,” said the representative, noting that, although there is “a very significant lack of official figures,” it can unequivocally ensure that violence against the woman is “very present” in Venezuela.
UNFPA has warned that the environment of confinement, due to the quarantine in which the population is kept to prevent the spread of COVID-19, “exacerbates gender-based violence, taking it to the extreme of feminicide.”
Caro indicated that although Venezuela shows a positive rating on indicators of gender inequality such as access to education, the absence of data prevents determining whether there are other imbalances, such as the number of women in managerial positions in the country compared to men .
TRAFFIC AND PROSTITUTION
“We know that with the crisis the possibility of trafficking, transactional sex, sex for food, and human trafficking has increased. It has been denounced but we do not have these data,” he said, referring to the last five years, when the Most of the population went on to live in misery, with hyperinflation and monetary devaluation.
The representative considers that one of the most characteristic features of this period of crisis has been “turning women into merchandise”.
This, he explains, takes the form of forced prostitution, of trading sex for food or money, through human trafficking or through neo-slavery, all present in the South American nation.
“There are some dark pages there because we do not know how they are produced. What we do have is the certainty that there is human trafficking at the borders, that there is an increase and a very significant risk that trafficking is generated and it is mainly about women. during the crisis, “he said.
The official statistics of teenage pregnancy in Venezuela are also not updated, but through various estimates, UNFPA has determined that the country has one of the five highest rates in all of America.
In fact, in the recent report, Venezuela ranks above the entire continent in the average number of pregnancies for girls between the ages of 15 and 19 between 2003 and 2018.
“The numbers are not growing (…) they remain in a range that oscillates between 95 and 101 for every thousand pregnancies (…) and there is also a segment below 15 years that has grown, but they are not accounted for because they are linked to sexual violence, “explains Caro.
In addition, “there is an alarm on” by the increase in the number of women who die in childbirth, with 125 deaths for every 100,000 live births.
“A very important alarm sign,” she said, assuring that the UN and the government are trying to reduce maternal death, although there is still a “certain possibility that they will increase,” especially if unwanted pregnancies soar in the middle. of confinement, which could also trigger clandestine abortions.
While child marriage is not even measured in Venezuela, it has become “very common” the early union of girls ages 13 and 14 with men up to 10 years older, especially in rural areas, “in some cases seeking security” or financial support for teenage girls or their relatives.
Also – continued the UNFPA representative – there are numerous cases of people living in big cities like Caracas and looking for girls in rural areas to work in domestic service, take care of an adult or some children.
“Then they turn girls into merchandise that is traded (…) a girl who comes to a big city because they have delivered her loses all her future, her opportunities to study, to advance,” he said.
The UNFPA report called “Against My Will” shows for the first time a decrease in the Venezuelan population in the last five years, when nearly five million people left the country fleeing a crisis that flares up every day.
(c) EFE Agency