Social Issues

How Venezuelan women are being tricked into sex, labor exploitation

By Hector Pereira

Caracas, Apr 11 (EFE).- False job offers or fake romantic relationships have tricked hundreds of Venezuelan women into sex and labor trafficking in recent months, turning what started as a dream of a better life into a nightmare.

Traffickers use many strategies to recruit girls and women, using social media, legal loopholes and, most of all, false promises to travel abroad.

To clamp down, authorities have stepped up the hunt for pimps, slavers and traffickers in general, a war largely being waged online.

NGOs, meanwhile, document dozens of cases each month and help many victims who are trying to reclaim their lives while coping with being survivors of human trafficking and abuse.


Traffickers have set their sights on Venezuela, the starting point for millions of migrants trying to escape an acute economic crisis, which has left scores of potential victims on the country’s borders trying to dodge visa requirements.

Traffickers also target migrants looking for job offers on the internet.

Since 2020, Tinta Violeta NGO has registered disappearances of adolescents and adults who stopped communicating with relatives after migrating to other countries for work. The NGO soon discovered they were dealing with trafficking cases.

“In Venezuela, the most common form of recruitment is the false job offer. Even those who agree to go to do sex work are being deceived and victims of trafficking,” explains Tinta Violeta chief Daniela Inojosa, who rescued 57 girls and 73 women between May and November 2022.

The activist has taken care of women who were under the control of a pimp, adolescents who were deceived by cousins or brothers, young people who were exploited by their boyfriends, and other victims of countless circumstances.

NGO Mulier has also documented the stories of a total of 1,390 Venezuelans who were rescued in 2022, warning of more victims and a major problem in the country.


Carla, using a fake name, has lived in Belgium since 2022. She was became involved in an online relationship with a European man who showered her with gifts and insisted that she move to come and live with him.

Once she arrived, she was stripped of her freedom and suffered daily abuse.

She couldn’t talk to her family, dress the way she wanted, use her phone, or go out whenever she wanted because her boyfriend-turned-husband controlled every aspect of her life.

She was insulted and compelled against her will to work both at home and at a construction company, before she was rescued by the police.

Today, Carla tells Efe that she is trying to regularize her status in Belgium with her eight-year-old daughter while waiting for her ex-partner to be prosecuted. EFE


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