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Mexican cartels control the caravan of Venezuelan 'escorts' on the way to death

Six out of every ten Venezuelan sex workers killed abroad since 2012 were in Mexico. In that country it is often about attractive girls who work as high-level company ladies or night-time waiters, businesses directly managed by organized crime. There are many clues that lead to the Guadalajara New Generation Cartel at the peak of this trade in people, with the complicity of others such as Los Cuinis and Tepito. Often the human merchandise becomes the property of capos and assassins, with whom he knows the hell of the femicides

12/05/2019 12:00:00

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Venezuela is known for two export products: beauty and oil.

As the country has crumbled politically and economically, these two products have remained important for the country’s survival. Oil is the bedrock for the economy, and beauty which in the past often elevated Venezuela’s position in international beauty contests is today a cash economy that is rescuing Venezuelan families from starvation.

With the country’s fever-high interest in beauty, and beauty contests held every year to find the next Miss Venezuela, beautiful women are an ample commodity in Venezuela that is today being exploited by international criminal gangs.  Mexican and Colombian organized crime groups, which operate in Venezuela and out of the country, seek Venezuelan women out because of their reputation for exquisite looks and their potential for huge earnings as sex slaves.

Until 2014, Venezuela was classified as a transit corridor for women trafficked from other South American nations.  But in the last four years, the country has turned into a producer of women for the sex trade.

The women’s experiences have been catastrophic. A total of 19 Venezuelan women who worked as escorts or, barmaids, have been murdered since 2012 in various countries. The number of murders had a 200 percent increase after 2017 when the economic crisis pushed more Venezuelans to migrate to neighboring countries.  Sixty percent of the murders occurred in Mexico. But others took place in Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador.

For women, the situation is direr because of their reputation as beautiful. “They arrive with zero protection, and they are exploited because they are considered beautiful and are vulnerable,” said Beatriz Borges, of the Caracas-based Centro de Justicia y Paz, Cepaz.

In Mexico, Venezuelan women and girls arrive recruited under false expectations. Ten Venezuelan women were killed since 2012 in various cities,  including Mexico City. The murders occurred at a time when thousands of Venezuelans were arriving in the country, and many women only found work as barmaids or escorts.

However, our investigation has found that Mexican drug cartels have carefully identified Venezuelan women as an important money-making commodity. According to a Venezuelan analyst, Mexican cartels have understood the value of Venezuelan women since 2010. Each woman working for a cartel as an escort can have the earning potential of up to $200 thousand a year, according to independent accounting by a former escort in Mexico City. (5a) Hence since 2010, news items began appearing in Mexican media detailing the presence of Venezuelan women who were found working at bars in various Mexican states.