Venezuelan children forced to work in the streets to survive

The lack of public policies regarding the protection of children’s rights in Venezuela has resulted in the violation of the rights of minors, many of whom are forced to take to the streets to work and get their daily livelihood. organizations and experts ensure.

The most recent Survey on Living Conditions (Encovi) -a study prepared by the Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB), which collects figures on the situation in the Caribbean country- determined that 94.5% of Venezuelans live below the poverty threshold and that educational coverage fell to 65%, 5 points less than in the 2019-2020 measurement.

And although there are no official figures on childhood in Venezuela, the situation of children in households considered poor is palpable on the streets of Caracas, where groups of up to 20 minors are seen concentrated at the traffic lightsjuggling or cleaning vehicle windows to earn between $ 3 and $ 6 a day.

According to the coordinator of the NGO Community Learning Centers (Cecodap), Carlos Trapani, lThe absence of data in this regard makes it difficult to know the problem precisely and in depth.

"Data on children are not available (…) as we do not have disaggregated, updated and reliable data, we cannot identify the magnitude and scope of the problem of street children", explained to Efe Trapani.

"PLURIOFENSIVE REALITY" 

Eddy Blanco, 19, who has worked on the streets since he was 16, told Efe that he made the decision to do so to help his family and achieve "that nothing is missing in the house".

Blanco never imagined cleaning car windows to "survive" because he wanted to be an athlete, but says firmly that he prefers "work than stealing".

"Here, sometimes, they come out with insults, with rudeness, they take out firearms, but what are we going to do … We have to lower our heads and keep working"said the young man when asked about the dangers to which children are exposed in the streets.

On the busy avenue in the center of Caracas where he cleans vehicle windows, Blanco says he has seen infants who have been working since the age of 9.

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"It is not good, it is so that they are studying. It is so that instead of having a perol (bucket) and a lazy (brush), they have a notebook and a pencil"he mused.

Blanco’s story is framed by what Trapani recognized as "a multi-offensive reality" That, he assured, is what children and adolescents experience in Venezuelan streets, while there are several rights that should be guaranteed by the State and are violated.

"That of street children is a multi-offensive reality. That is, a set of rights are violated, not only life, health, an adequate standard of living, the right to family, the right to protection, the right to school, to rest, is also violated. to recreation, to recreation", detailed the specialist.

A Cecodap report recently revealed that Venezuela registered a total of 3,738 violent deaths of minors between 2017 and 2019. In this regard, Trapani explained that these are conditions that Venezuelan children experience and in which "there is no improvement trend".

"Quite the opposite. The context of covid-19 aggravated and deepened the gaps and inequalities experienced by children"added the activist.

WORK TO SURVIVE

The international NGO World Vision warned in November 2020 that, during the pandemic, child labor increased by 20% compared to previous years, and that, within that figure, 28% are dedicated to begging and, at least , 19% sell products on the streets.

Yeinerson, 10 years old, He has been working on a street in the center of Caracas for three weeks and is part of those figures pointed out by the NGO.

His mother, who preferred not to reveal his identity, watches him closely as he sells sweets in a square. She told Efe that the decision that the child will also look for money was made after spending a whole day without having to eat at home.

The woman said that it is increasingly common for entire families to take to the streets to look for money, because with what they get they can buy rice, corn flour or cheese "to spend one more day".

 

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