Child rights groups have warned that the growing economic crisis has led to widespread migration of cornvirus quarantine and mass migration.
Twelve-year-old Moises Bracmonte knows how to prepare fertilizer and water the black beans and corn that her family grows in the West Tachira state of Venezuela. He said the hardest part of farming is to “break up the land” to sow seeds without a tractor or a cow.
“Why is it so difficult to pick? Because the peak is heavy, and if you have a lot of seeds, you have to pick a lot, ”he said in an interview in the living room of his home in the town of Cordoro, about 800 kilometers (500 miles) southwest of Caracas.
Because schools are closed and there is no access to the Internet, Mysis and her 11-year-old brother Jesus provide food for their family, their father, Mysess, 58, which they have never done before the coronavirus epidemic.
Coronavirus segregation measures have increased the number of children working in Venezuela, according to child protection workers in the South African country, which has faced a deep economic crisis over the past five years.
More than five million Venezuelan migrants have exacerbated the problem of child labor, researchers say.
“[The pandemic] Increases risk factors for child labor, “said Carlos Trapani, Sekodap Coordinator, a non-profit group focused on prevention of violence and children’s rights. Are at greater risk of being recruited by.
At least 630,000 Venezuelan children and adolescents were living without parents or both due to immigration by 2020, according to a Sekodap report released in December.
“Sometimes there is no adult presence because they have left the country and teenagers are in charge of the family group,” said Leonardo Rodriguez of Casas Don Bosco, who works with disadvantaged youth.
Venezuela does not provide statistics on child labor.
The country’s information ministry and state child protection agency IDNNA did not respond to requests for comment.
World Vision, a global Christian humanitarian organization, conducted a survey of 420 families in Caracas and the neighboring country of Miranda in August 2020 on how the epidemic affected children at risk. Respondents were 30 years of age or older of whom 71 percent were women.
The study, published in World Vision in November, said, “The problems that put children at greater risk during the epidemic were food shortages, increased child labor … involving domestic violence and neglect.”
Since the epidemic began, more children have been doing housework for other families in exchange for money or food, and most of them have been begging and selling products such as water or cigarettes on the streets, the study found.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the United Nations International Labor Organization estimated in June that the effects of the epidemic could push the workforce of more than 300,000 Latin American children and adolescents, adding 10.5 million already. .