With about 4 million Venezuelans having fled to neighboring countries in recent years, their vulnerability has become a boon for criminal networks elsewhere, OZY reports. Authorities in Colombia, for instance, report that hundreds of migrants have been swept up by everything from guerrilla militancy to the country’s infamous cocaine trade. Women are especially vulnerable, being recruited into prostitution as soon as they cross the border and often going on to become recruiters themselves.
Why are they doing it? Desperation compels Venezuelans to take bigger risks, so they’re settling for less than what Colombian or Mexican gang members would make — but more than what they’d earn back home.