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Wed Mar 25, 2020, 11:16 AM

Nearly a Million Children Left Behind in Venezuela as Parents Migrate

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/24/world/americas/venezuela-migration-children.html

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Seven years into an economic collapse, Venezuela’s migrant crisis has grown into one of the largest in the world. Millions have already left. By the end of 2020, an estimated 6.5 million people will have fled, according to the United Nations refugee agency — a number rarely, if ever, seen outside of war.

But hidden inside that data is a startling phenomenon. Venezuela’s mothers and fathers, determined to find work, food and medicine, are leaving hundreds of thousands of children in the care of grandparents, aunts, uncles and even siblings who have barely passed puberty themselves.

Many parents do not want to put their children through the grueling and sometimes very dangerous upheaval of displacement. Others simply cannot afford to take them along.

The exodus is so large that it is reshaping the very concept of childhood in Venezuela, sending grade-schoolers into the streets to work — and leaving many exposed to the swirl of abusive players who have filled the vacuum left by the collapsing Venezuelan state, including sex traffickers and armed groups.


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