File photo of a man and two children pushing a cart loaded with scrap metal in the vicinity of Ciudad Guayana, Bolívar, Venezuela, 30 March 2022. EFE/ Rayner Peña R.

Study reveals increase in labor and sexual exploitation in Venezuelan mining region

Caracas, Oct 9 (EFE).- Cases of human trafficking for labor and sexual exploitation have increased in the mining communities of the Venezuelan state of Bolivar (bordering Brazil), according to a study by the Catholic University Andrés Bello, which highlights the particularity of the scourge in this area where criminal groups operate.

“Through the monitoring of media and social networks, it has been possible to detect an increase in situations in which human trafficking is reported. The main destination of which, if not abroad, is usually the municipalities where mining activities are concentrated,” says the report on “modern slavery” in this southern region of Venezuela.

The study, conducted by the Human Rights Center of the UCAB, does not provide the exact number of cases identified but points out that 74% of the victims are women and 26% are men.

“It was found that the most common forms of slavery are labor and sexual exploitation. Women are more vulnerable to the latter, while men are mostly captured for forced or exploitative labor,” the report added.

The data presented by the investigators highlights the rescue by the security forces of 207 victims of human trafficking in three operations carried out between May 20 and June 10.

The report also notes that there is a constant migration to this area of the country, with 3,000 people arriving daily through the land terminals, while non-governmental organizations report a daily flow of 1,500 people across the border with Brazil.

“Mining has generated a significant migratory flow towards the municipalities where extractive activities are concentrated, which has allowed the identification of mobility routes that, after investigation, coincide with the itineraries used for human trafficking and smuggling in the state,” adds the UCAB.

According to human rights organizations, human trafficking has been the fastest-growing crime in Venezuela in the last three years. In that time, authorities have captured dozens of people involved in these crimes. EFE