Venezuelan adolescent girls feel insecure in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru
For World Refugee Day, Plan International is launching a research study on the situation of refugee and migrant girls and adolescents from Venezuela, living in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
The majority of girls who have fled Venezuela’s political and economic crisis do not feel safe in their new country, research shows.
A study – conducted by the girls’ rights organization Plan International – found that rape, sexual abuse, harassment and commercial sexual exploitation are the main concerns of refugee and migrant girls in Ecuador, Peru and in Colombia.
Of the 452 girls surveyed, all aged 10 to 19, 50% said they did not feel safe on the streets, while 21% of girls and 13% of adolescent girls had witnessed violence, sexual abuse or violence. verbal assaults against their peers. .
BEING A MIGRANT EXPOSES GIRLS TO GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
The study, entitled “Adolescents in Crisis: Voices of Venezuelan Migration in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru – Regional Report“, shows how being a migrant puts girls at risk of gender-based violence.
The reasons are many, but include lack of official documents (20%), lack of school places (20%), teenage pregnancies (15%) and other factors such as lack of economic resources and the fact that to have to work.
“When I first entered school they called me ‘veneca’, [a derogatory way of referring to Venezuelan migrant] they intimidated me and told me I was a hungry person. “(15 year old teenager, Soledad, Colombia)
40% of girls also do not have access to basic health services, and among those aged 15 and over, one in five (19%) told Plan International that she was or had been pregnant. The average age of pregnancy was 16 years old. This contrasts with the expectations of becoming a mother, set by themselves around 25 years old.
GIRLS FACE BARRIERS AS THEY TRY TO REBUILD LIVES
Debora Cobar, Executive Director of Plan International for the Americas, said: “Migrant girls have the right to live free from violence and we are all responsible for making this a reality. Our report shows that having endured so much, the girls face unimaginable obstacles as they attempt to build a new life outside of Venezuela. States must, however, guarantee girls’ access to social services and justice systems. “
“Plan International calls on the States of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru to make adjustments to public policies, legal protection and systems for the restoration of rights, so that as signatories to the Convention on the Rights of the As a child, they can fully protect each of them without distinction of nationality, race or migratory condition.
More than half (52%) of the girls were concerned about not having food, with almost half (44%) saying they sometimes went to bed hungry and had to beg or ask for thrown away food.
Plan International supports Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and works through partners in Venezuela. The organization’s programs reach 385,000 people, 35% of whom are children and adolescents, promoting child protection, access to quality education and youth empowerment.