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News > Colombia

Colombia: Migrants Trafficking Increases Amid Pandemic

  • Migrants at the Venezuela-Combia border. July 16, 2020.

    Migrants at the Venezuela-Combia border. July 16, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 26 July 2020

Some Venezuelan migrants have claimed they were charged US$200 return to their homeland, without having any guarantee.

Every day, hundreds of Venezuelan migrants living in Colombia start their trek back to their homeland illegally as they often get swindled by Colombian human trafficking networks. 


Human Trafficking in the US Surged During COVID-19 Lockdowns

The border city Maicao, Colombia, is the meeting point where most Venezuela citizens pass through illegally, evading sanitary controls by the Venezuelan government to prevent the COVID-19 spread in the countr.y  

According to Madelein Garcia, teleSUR's correspondent in Venezuela, some migrants have claimed they were charged US$200 return to their homeland, without having any guarantee that they will actually get to the Bolivarian nation.  

"Others have said they were robbed and defrauded when trying to get back," Garcia tweeted.

It was the case of Marlexis Somoza, a Venezuelan migrant who doesn’t recommend anyone return to the country illegally. “I was robbed and mistreated by a Colombian human trafficking network,” she assured.

"Listen carefully to this woman. In Colombia they sell them the idea that in Venezuela they will be mistreated. This is how they attract customers. This group was left on the road, swindled, robbed."

The risk of contracting coronavirus in the journey is extremely high. The border city of Zulia, in Venezuela, is currently the pandemic's epicenter in the South Amercian country.

Venezuela government estimates that at least 4,000 people that entered the country illegally, were COVID-19 positive.  

The Bolivarian nations has wasted no efforts in trying to stop the corruption within the Colombia-Venezuela border.

A defense zone in Zulia was created temporarily to deal with the situation. The migrants are taken to this zone to comply with the mandatory 14-days-long quarantine. 

Venezuelan migrant Juan Carlos Martinez says he was misled into taking the illegal road and paying US$200 for the trail.

“They lied to me. They told me that if I return to the Venezuela trough the legal route I would get mistreated. But I'm not seeing that. I’ve actually been treated very nicely,” Martinez said. 

"Listen to this testimony, listen carefully, in Maicao they tell the Venezuelan migrants that here they will get the virus injected.  That is why they decide to take this journey."

Other migrants, however, decide to go back home via the legal route, complying with the protocol established by the Venezuelan government. If they test negative for  COVID-19, they are free to go back home. 

“We are thankful because when we got here, we were treated very kindly,” a Venezuelan migrant said after coming back from Colombia legally.

Various migrants say they were evicted from their homes and humiliated in Colombia.  

Although Venezuelan migrants lived a nightmare when trying to cross illegally, some have been able to return home by buses provided by Venezuela government. They are now able to reunite with their families.

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