WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

Webinar–Human Trafficking amid a Pandemic: Confronting the Exploitation of Fleeing Venezuelans

10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. EST Tuesday, 30 June 2020

(AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Join the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), Women’s Link Worldwide, and Refugees International for an upcoming webinar.

As Venezuela’s political and economic crisis deepens, the risks facing Venezuelans who are fleeing the country are getting significantly worse as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to a lack of regular status in their host countries, the exploitation of Venezuelan women, girls, and children in the form of human trafficking, sex trafficking, and forced labor has intensified as criminal groups have taken advantage of COVID-19. The pandemic has led to border closures that have incentivized illegal border crossings through informal checkpoints that are often controlled by criminal groups. Without regular legal status in host countries, fleeing Venezuelans have limited access to formal employment and resources, exposing them to exploitative work in the informal economy. Without formal protection from deportation or persecution, victims are also less likely to report cases of exploitation to national authorities.

In this webinar, experts will discuss the dangers of human trafficking and exploitation for Venezuelan migrants, the impact of public policy on these activities, and the ways in which these threats have been aggravated during the COVID-19 pandemic. What are the general trends in human trafficking of Venezuelans? How do migration policies and COVID-related policies affect trafficking? What measures are in place to protect migrants from exploitative activities? 

Tweet your questions during the event to #WOLAVenezuela

Event Details:

Tuesday, June 30, 2020
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. EST


Selene Soto
Senior Attorney
Women’s Link Worldwide

Devon Cone
Senior Advocate for Women and Girls
Refugees International

Rachel Schmidtke
Advocate for Latin America
Refugees International


Gimena Sanchez-Garzoli
Director for the Andes

Moderated by:

Geoff Ramsey
Director for Venezuela