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Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                     

Bolivarian Republic of


Venezuela remains highly dependent on oil revenues, which account for roughly 90% of export earnings, about 50% of the federal budget revenues, and around 30% of GDP.

Fueled by high oil prices, record government spending helped to boost GDP by about 9% in 2006, 8% in 2007, and nearly 6% in 2008. This spending, combined with recent minimum wage hikes and improved access to domestic credit, has created a consumption boom but has come at the cost of higher inflation - roughly 20% in 2007 and more than 30% in 2008. Imports also have jumped significantly.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Venezuela

Venezuela is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Venezuelan women and girls are trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation, lured from poor interior regions to urban and tourist areas such as Caracas and Margarita Island. Victims are often recruited through false job offers, and subsequently coerced into prostitution. Some Venezuelan children are forced to work as street beggars or as domestic servants. Venezuelan women and girls are trafficked transnationally for commercial sexual exploitation to Mexico, in addition to Caribbean destinations such as Trinidad and Tobago, the Netherlands Antilles, and the Dominican Republic.   - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009  Check out a later country report here and possibly a full TIP Report here



CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Venezuela.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Venezuela's Record in Combating Human Trafficking, 2006

[accessed 16 January 2011]

[scroll down]

IS VENEZUELA'S TIER 3 DESIGNATION POLITICALLY MOTIVATED? - According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) many countries with many more human trafficking violations than Venezuela have been assigned Tier 1 or Tier 2 status while others with less serious records receive Tier 3. Michael Shifter of the Inter-American Dialogue notes in an opinion piece published in the New York Times that “in the State Department’s 2003 Human Trafficking report Venezuela did not even appear among the five worst offenders in the Western Hemisphere” and that “the Bush administration has not provided compelling and persuasive evidence that warrants singling out one country.”


*** ARCHIVES ***

U.S. human trafficking report: China, Iran, N. Korea worst offenders

Nicholas Sakelaris, United Press International UPI, 20 June 2019

[accessed 20 June 2019]

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday human trafficking is a strain on humanity that violates basic human rights. He named China, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela and Cuba among the worst offenders.

Those countries all scored the lowest on the 2019 Trafficking in Person report released by the U.S. State Department.

CARICOM report: Trinidad & Tobago officers involved in sex trafficking

Stabroek News, 20 July 2020

[accessed 20 July 2020]

[Official Complicity]

According to investigations carried out in the Venezuelan town of Tucupita, which included interviews with human traffickers, some of the gangs in the region are headed and operated by law-enforcement officers from Trinidad & Tobago.

One Venezuelan trafficker indicated that through his connection with elements in the T&T Police Service, he has been assured of protection by officers who advise him where to enter the country.

Another trafficker confirmed the claims, saying that he had been working with a police officer from Trinidad and Tobago who pays him to provide women for his T&T-based organisation.   Admitting that he was part of a gang that specialised in kidnapping Venezuelans and carrying them to T&T, he said the officer, a constable, is a member of an organised South American crime network.   He said they worked together to bring across the women, where they were forced to work, in many instances, as sex slaves and prostitutes.

Sold Off As a Prostitute in Trinidad

A shipwreck saved her the first time, but the human trafficking ring that works from Güiria to Trinidad and Tobago came back to get her one year later

Nayrobis Rodríguez, Caracas Chronicles, 16 May 2020

[accessed 18 May 2020]

They had clubs and knives, they hit me and my daughter. They told her: ‘come with us and we’ll leave your mom alone.’ I ran out to look for the police, but they didn’t listen to me. I went back home and they had taken my daughter, she wasn’t there.”

None of the authorities paid attention to Keyla’s complaint. A few days later, some acquaintances told her that the girl was in Trinidad. “She was taken by people working with those she accused,” the mother claims.

During the last week of April, Yosqueili managed to call for a few minutes, using another girl’s phone:

“Mom, I’m in Trinidad. They sold me for $300.”

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Venezuela

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 29 June 2021]


According to FADESS, more than 60,000 Cubans worked in the illegitimate Maduro regime’s social programs (such as the Mission Inside the Barrio) in exchange for the regime’s provision of oil resources to the Cuban government. FADESS noted Cubans worked in the ministries of Education, Registrar, Notary, Telecommunications, and Security. FADESS also cited that the G-2 Cuban security unit was present in the armed forces and in state enterprises. The Cuban government may have forced some Cubans to participate in its government-sponsored medical missions. Some Cuban medical personnel who participated in the social program Mission Inside the Barrio described indicators of forced labor, including underpayment of wages, mandatory long hours, limitations on movement, the use of “minders” to conduct surveillance of participants outside of work, forced political indoctrination, and threats of retaliatory actions against workers and their families if they left the program or did not return to Cuba as directed by government supervisors. The Cuban government acknowledged that it withheld the passports of Cuban medical personnel in the country. Venezuelan authorities did not investigate allegations of forced labor in Cuba’s overseas medical program.


Most child laborers worked in the agricultural sector, street vending, domestic service, or in small and medium-size businesses, most frequently in family-run operations. There continued to be isolated reports of children exploited in domestic servitude, mining, forced begging, and commercial sexual exploitation (see section 6), many of whom could be victims of trafficking. Members of the illegitimate Maduro regime supported the operations of the National Liberation Army and dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia dissidents by allowing the exploitation, sex trafficking, forced labor, and forced recruitment of children. A study by Cecodap found that child laborers constituted up to 45 percent of those working in mines. Media reported children as young as nine years old working in mines.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 10 May 2020]


Venezuelan women and children are increasingly vulnerable to sex trafficking within Venezuela and in neighboring countries, as well as in Europe, with the problem exacerbated by worsening economic conditions. Migrants to Venezuela have also been subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. The government has reportedly done little to combat human trafficking.

With job opportunities growing scarce and wages not keeping up with hyperinflation, more citizens have turned to jobs in the informal economy, where they are more exposed to dangerous or exploitative working conditions. Among businesses that are legally registered, sanctions for labor law violations, when levied, generally target private-sector operations, and not those that are state-run.

FM Rodríguez rejects OAS report on human trafficking

El Universal EU Daily News, Caracas, June 08, 2006

[accessed 16 February 2016]

Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Alí Rodríguez Araque Wednesday rejected as biased, influenced and judgmental a report on Venezuela published by the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Organization of American States (OAS).

Annual Report Of Activities By The Anti-Trafficking In Persons Section Of The Organization Of American States - April 2005 To March 2006 [DOC]

SIXTH MEETING OF MINISTERS OF JUSTICE OR OF MINISTERS OR ATTORNEYS GENERAL OF THE AMERICAS, April 2005 to March 2006, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 13 April 2006

[accessed 16 January 2011]

[accessed 19 February 2018]

VENEZUELA - At its 35th regular session, held in Fort Lauderdale, the General Assembly of the Organization renewed the mandate of holding a Meeting of National Authorities on Trafficking in Persons in its resolution AG/RES. 2118 (XXXV-O/05) “Fighting The Crime Of Trafficking In Persons.” In turn, the OAS Permanent Council, meeting on August 25, 2005, adopted the resolution “Convocation of the Meeting of National Authorities on Trafficking in Persons,” CP/RES. 889 (1503/05), which was later reviewed at the sessions held on November 30, 2005, and January 24, 2006, and in which it was agreed that the meeting would take place on Isla Margarita in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on March 14-17, 2006. The meeting on Isla Margarita was attended by national authorities from the member states, civil society, and international agencies including the IOM, the ILO, and the UNODC; it was also the first hemispheric forum at which the countries of the Americas met to discuss issues related to the implementation of legal instruments for tackling human trafficking, preventing the phenomenon, punishing traffickers, providing protection and victim assistance, and exchanging information, experiences, and international cooperation. One of the outcomes of this meeting was the production of a document containing its conclusions and recommendations, which will be presented at the REMJA VI meeting to be held on April 24-26 next in the Dominican Republic.

Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation Between Venezuela and Ecuador

Survivors' Rights International SRI, July 17, 2003

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 13 September 2011]

BACKGROUND - Women and children are also trafficked into Venezuela. Women from countries like Colombia are trafficked into Venezuela through prostitution trade networks originating in Colombia.  Children from Ecuador are trafficked into Venezuela to serve as prostitutes and work as street vendors and housemaids.  The victims are usually children who are kidnapped, sold by their parents, or deceived by false employment opportunities.  These children are first exploited through prostitution at the average age of 12.  Children as young as 7 years old have been found to be sexually exploited.  Of the 40,000 sexually exploited children in Venezuela, 78% are girls between the ages of 8 and 17.

What a difference a year makes: The US Trafficking in Persons Report!

Philip Stinard,, June 17, 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 13 September 2011]

Venezuelan Vice Foreign Minister Arevalo Mendez Romero was correct to brand this report as ?cynical and arrogant,? even if you ignore that fact that the US has a well-documented slave and prostitution trade that makes Venezuela?s situation look like a Sunday school picnic. One last amazing thing is that the report can cite a 2003 case of Venezuelan prostitutes in Spain, but can?t acknowledge that the Venezuelan government captured a large group of 100+ Colombian paramilitaries smuggled into the country by Venezuelan opposition forces, and gave special care and attention to the minors, returning them to their families in Colombia.

Venezuelan Statement to UN

The Dominion Daily Weblog, September 15, 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 13 September 2011]

The reason given to justify this decision consists of an alleged negligence  on the part of the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to act properly against illegal human trafficking by transnational organized crime. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela not only contemplates in its internal legislation human trafficking as illegal, but it is also part of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime as well as the Protocol to Prevent & Sanction the Traffic of Persons ... especially women and children ... treaties that went into effect on December 25, 2003.

Domestic media spin suggests Cuba is trafficking teenage women to Venezuela

Patrick J. O'Donoghue,, August 27, 2003

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 13 September 2011]

In a misleading title Venezuelan tabloid El Mundo reads: report reveals sexual trafficking from Cuba to Venezuela.

The report does not offer proof or confirm the spin that the Cuban government is responsible for the trafficking, or maliciously that it forms part of the current cultural and economic agreement signed by Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez Frias.

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 16 January 2011]

[accessed 8 May 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Venezuela is a destination, transit, and source country for children trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.  Children are trafficked internally for labor and sexual exploitation, as well as from other South American countries, especially Ecuador, to work in the capital city of Caracas as street vendors and domestics.  There are also reports that children from Venezuela have been abducted and used as soldiers by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 8 October 1999

[accessed 16 January 2011]

[24] The Committee welcomes the measures taken to eliminate irregularities in the procedures concerning adoption (e.g., direct placement of children, known as entrega inmediata), but it remains concerned that the State party has not reformed its domestic legislation relating to inter-country adoption in accordance with the obligations established under the Hague Convention of 1993 on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Inter-country Adoption

[33] While the Committee notes the information submitted by the State party on the trafficking and sale of Ecuadorian children and welcomes the measures undertaken by the State party's authorities to combat this phenomenon, the Committee is of the opinion that measures in this regard need to be strengthened.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

21 May 2001,CESCR,CONCOBSERVATIONS,VEN,3cc7f9e86,0.html

[accessed 26 August 2011],CESCR,,VEN,3cc7f9e86,0.html

[accessed 19 February 2018]

 [16] The Committee is alarmed about the high rate of domestic violence and the extent of child prostitution and trafficking in children, and regrets the lack of available statistics on the number of street children. The Committee is deeply concerned about the extent of the sex trade involving children and the inability of the State party to address these issues.

Human Rights Overview

Human Rights Watch

[accessed 16 January 2011]


Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 8 May 2020]


Venezuelan women and children are vulnerable to sex trafficking both within Venezuela and in neighboring countries, particularly amid worsening economic conditions. Migrants to Venezuela have also been subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 11 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – There were reports that the country was a source, destination, and transit country for trafficked men, women, and children. An underdeveloped legal framework, corruption among immigration authorities, and the ease with which fraudulent passports, identity cards, and birth certificates could be obtained created favorable conditions for trafficking. No overall statistics on trafficking were available from government or NGO sources.

Human rights NGOs received complaints that women were trafficked to Europe for purposes of prostitution. Subgroups particularly at risk included women from poor areas. Undocumented or fraudulently documented Ecuadorian and Chinese nationals transited the country and reportedly were forced to work off the cost of their transportation in conditions of servitude.

Organized criminal groups, possibly including Colombian drug traffickers, Ecuadorian citizens, and Chinese mafia groups, reportedly were involved in trafficking activities

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