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Plague exacerbates child abuse problems in Venezuela | Business and Financial Issues


Coronavirus, which has a large population of migrants due to overcrowding, has increased the number of children caring for themselves in Venezuela, say children’s rights activists.

Twelve-year-old Moises Bracamonte knows how to prepare fertilizer and irrigate black beans and corn that his family grows in western Tachira, Venezuela. It is said that the most difficult part of agricultural activities is “breaking the soil” to plant crops without a tractor or cattle.

“Why is it so hard to carry? Because the war is heavy, and you have to choose more if you have a lot of crops, ”he said in an interview in the living room of his home in Cordero, a town 800 kilometers southwest of Caracas.

With schools closed and offline, Moises and his 11-year-old brother Jesus help their father, also known as Moises, 58, grow food for his family, unprecedented before the coronavirus epidemic.

Coronavirus resettlement measures have increased the number of working children in Venezuela, according to South American human rights activists, who have been experiencing economic hardships over the past five years.

The child abuse crisis was sparked by the massive migration of more than 5 million Venezuelans who turned many children into breadwinners, according to researchers.

“[The pandemic] has increased the risk of child labor, “said Carlos Trapani, co-founder of Cecodap, a non-profit organization that focuses on the prevention of violence and the rights of children. people and are at high risk of being taken over by terrorists.

By 2020, some 830,000 Venezuelan children and adolescents were living without one or both parents due to migration, according to a Cecodap report published in December.

“Sometimes there are no adults because they have left the country and young people are leading the family,” said Leonardo Rodriguez of Casas Don Bosco, who works with disadvantaged young people.

People walking on a busy business route amid coronavirus infection that has led the government to develop blockade routes, Caracas, Venezuela [File: Leonardo Fernandez Viloria/Reuters]

Venezuela does not provide statistics on child labor.

The state media and the child protection agency IDENNA did not respond to a request for comment.

World Vision, an international humanitarian organization, surveyed 420 families in Caracas and in the vicinity of Miranda in August 2020 to determine the impact of the epidemic on children. Respondents were between the ages of 30 and over, while 71% were women.

“The problems that put children at high risk during the epidemic are related to malnutrition, child labor… domestic violence and neglect,” World Vision said in a study released in November.

Since the epidemic, many children have been doing household chores with other families in exchange for money or food and many of them are begging and selling things like water or cigarettes on the streets, according to the study.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the UN’s International Labor Organization say in June that the epidemic could force more than 300,000 Latin American children and youth to start working, adding to the 10.5 million who are already part of it.


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