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‘Survival Sex’ to be put under the microscope in 2020

UNHCR Senior Liaison Officer, Cecilie Saenz Guerrero UNHCR Senior Liaison Officer, Cecilie Saenz Guerrero

THE United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will seek to provide employment alternatives to Venezuelan immigrants who have been forced to engage in “Survival Sex”.THE United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will seek to provide employment alternatives to Venezuelan immigrants who have been forced to engage in “Survival Sex”.
UNHCR Senior Liaison Officer, Cecilie Saenz Guerrero highlighted, recently, to the Guyana Chronicle that through its work, the body has found that because many of the Venezuelan immigrants — women in particular — are desperate to provide for their families, they have turned to providing sexual services to acquire money.
The provision of these sexual services is what is being referred to as “survival sex” since the immigrants are engaging in these activities with no alternative avenue to provide for themselves or their families. And, according to her, this leads to the immigrants being subjected to sexual and gender-based violence.
“[Survival Sex] is something we are looking into to see how we can support these women in finding other alternatives, having other avenues opened as solutions to this,” the UNHCR representative said, noting that the body has been in dialogue with the Ministry of Social Protection, to provide alternative employment avenues.
The establishment of soup kitchens or providing materials to make hammocks are employment avenues UNHCR is currently looking into.
Weighing in on the matter was founder and managing-director of the recently- formed Migrant Support Network (MSN), Derwayne Wills. MSN is an implementing partner of UNHCR which does work in the frontline identification of immigrants.
According to Wills, through the work done by the MSN, it has been found that there are many women and men engaged in the practice of survival sex. The reason for this, as explained by him, is that many of the immigrants have difficulties accessing avenues that will garner an income.
“In some cases when you have no money to buy anything and the only thing you have access to is your body, you will use your body as part of the market and that is what is happening,” the managing-director said. “People have traded sex in order to pay for their rent, to send money home to their family, for their everyday meals, for their clothes and for everything,” he told this publication.
Survival sex, according to Wills, is sometimes seen as the last resort for immigrants looking for a way to provide for themselves and their families. And, this situation often is to their detriment.
“When you are actively involved in survival sex, there are some barriers that you have to let down, to even collect money from people. Your client might have demands and some of those demands might be unreasonable,” he said. This, he explained, is what opens the floodgates to sexual violence and gender- based violence.
Due to these associated issues and risks, Guerrero stressed that in the months ahead, UNHCR will intensify its work in this sector.

Last modified on Monday, 30 December 2019 20:25
Written on Sunday, 29 December 2019 Published in News Stories Read 857 times