Ten-year-old Damary lives in Venezuela, but every day she crosses the border into Colombia to go to school. Her mother doesn’t have papers to cross with her, so Damary must make the long and dangerous journey by herself.
“They don’t let my mommy cross anymore. They deported her. She has been sending me over alone,” Damary says.
A near total collapse of infrastructure in the country has left 90 percent of Venezuelans living below the poverty line. People are starving and kids across the country are missing out on their educations. More than 4.3 million people have fled as a result. Those who remain face a crumbling health system and shortages of basic necessities.
Human trafficking and exploitation pose serious threats to girls like Damary. Border crossings like the one Damary crosses to get to school are particularly dangerous places for sexual abuse and assault.
“There are lots of risks,” Damary says. “My mommy tells me not to take anything from anyone.”
Around the world, women and girls confront unique barriers for everything from earning a living to attending school. In the midst of humanitarian crises like Venezuela’s girls are even more likely to be left behind.
Girls like Damary living amid humanitarian crises face a high risk of violence and exploitation. Hear other girls’ stories and sign the petition to help make them Safe From the Start.
Additional writing and reporting by Jacky Habib