The Venezuela regional migration crisis disproportionately impacts women, young men and children, particularly due to heightened risks of gender-based violence (GBV). Of the Venezuelans who have left and crossed international borders, it is estimated that at least 40 percent are women, and over 25 percent are children and adolescents. Migrant women and girls are often targeted at the trochas, land border crossing points controlled by criminal groups and trafficking networks, thereby increasing the probability that they will experience sexual violence in exchange for safe passage.
There is a growing use of illegal routes by Venezuelan migrants entering the Caribbean and passage may be through smugglers. These routes are particularly dangerous for women and children who are more vulnerable to exploitation, human trafficking, and GBV.
Despite neighboring countries' generosity and efforts to welcome Venezuelans, many governments and communities are struggling to provide basic services to migrant communities due to lack of resources and infrastructure, and now a global pandemic. With the lack of required documentation to access basic services in their host communities including, healthcare, justice, and the ability to obtain formal employment, many migrants are being forced into informal economies.
As a result, women and girls often enter into the informal economy for survival, which puts them at higher risk for child labor and transactional sex. Even before the Venezuelan migration crisis began, the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that 126 million women and girls in Latin America and the Caribbean work in the informal sector for low wages without legal and social protections. As the crisis continues, especially in the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) context, these numbers are likely to increase.
In Central America and the Caribbean, the situation is turning critical. According to Panama’s National Migration Service (SNM), while 698 Venezuelans entered the country through dangerous, isolated areas of the Panamanian border in January 2019, this number rose to over 1,500 by January 2020.
Here's What We Are Doing
The BetterTogether Challenge is founded on the certainty that the world's collective genius has the ability to develop innovative solutions to mitigate the regional crisis. We are seeking expertise, ingenuity, resources, and networks to develop transformative solutions to prevent and respond to GBV experienced by Venezuelans in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Panama.
In addition to funding, the Challenge winners under this fund are receiving technical assistance, access to networks and potential partners, and publicity.
The BetterTogether Challenge is a global initiative to crowdsource, fund, and scale forward-thinking solutions from anywhere in the world to support Venezuelans and host communities affected by the regional crisis. BetterTogether is a partnership of the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Inter-American Development Bank.
The information provided on this website is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government. The information also cannot be attributed to the Inter-American Development Bank, its representatives, or member countries.