As Venezuela's socialist economic crisis continues, many Venezuelan women have turned to the sex trade in neighboring Colombia to eat and provide for their families.
"We've got lots of teachers, some doctors, many professional women and one petroleum engineer," brothel owner Gabriel Sánchez said of the women who sell their bodies for $25 an hour. "All of them showed up with their degrees in hand." Sanchez who is 60 years-old, started the brothel in Arauca, Colombia after he lost his job in a car repair shop in Venezuela thanks to the government's socialist policies.
Sánchez and others in the sex industry say Venezuelans dominate the trade now because they're willing to work for less pay. "I would say 99 percent of the prostitutes in this town are Venezuelan," he said. Amid food shortages, hyperinflation, rampant poverty driven by socialism, and U.S. sanctions, waves of economic refugees have fled the country. Those with the means to do so have gone to places like Miami, Santiago, and Panama. But those who are less fortunate, have had to sink low to simply eat.