12-17 years old Venezuelans work at Brothels to pay for food

The Guardian UK describes how a 16 year old began working at a brothel two years ago to pay for food. She earns 400,000 bolivares a month, around four times the minimum wage, but at a time of hyperinflation that is now worth about $30, barely enough to feed herself, her mother and a new baby brother.

Venezuela’s crisis has deepened, the number of women working at the brothel has doubled, and their ages have dropped. “I was the youngest when I started. Now there are girls who are 12 or 13. Almost all of us are there because of the crisis, because of hunger.”

Note – Women at a wide range of ages are earning money at brothels as the overall number of brothel workers has doubled. The title of this article is to highlights the severity of the situation by point out that those as young as 12 have to do it

Nearly three-quarters of Venezuelans have lost weight over the past year, and the average loss was a huge 9kg, or nearly a stone and a half, according to a survey by the country’s top universities. For many that is simply because food is too expensive. Nine out of 10 homes can’t cover the cost of what they should eat.

And 10 million people skip at least one meal a day, often to help feed their children.

* people loot supermarkets
* people start lining up for food at 5am or earlier but sometimes there is still no food

Critics and economists say the crisis is both real and self-inflicted, the result of a government using a raft of imports as a shortcut to meet promises of development and food security during the heady years of an oil price boom. Venezuela used to produce more than two-thirds of its food, and import the rest, but those proportions are now reversed, with imports making up around 70% of what the country eats.

Supplies dried up and inflation sliced through savings and earnings, slashing the value of the currency by more than 99% since Maduro’s 2013 election. Bolivares bought with $1,000 then would be worth little over a dollar at today’s black market rate.