The flow of people moving from the interior of the country to the border areas (Apure, Bolivar, Tachira and Zulia), with the intention of leaving Venezuela, continues. Due to the official closure of borders, they cross through informal routes (trochas), increasing protection risks, including gender-based violence (GBV), especially against girls, adolescents and women. At any time and place, people on the move is exposed to situations of trafficking and smuggling as well as risks to their lives, which was the case of 32 Venezuelans who died at sea after their boats sank while trying to reach Trinidad and Tobago from Güiria (state of Sucre).
Limitations in access to fuel, transportation, electricity and internet make it difficult for survivors to access response services, including GBV, so it is necessary to think of alternatives to ensure that care reaches the most vulnerable and those with specific needs, while mitigating challenges to their means of livelihood.
Along with the increased flow of people in mobility, there has been an increase in the reported number of separated and unaccompanied children and adolescents crossing the border through irregular routes.
During October, the Protection Cluster reached, through its partners, a total of 157,810 women, men, children and adolescents. The assistance covered the entire country, with activities carried out in the 23 states and the Capital District. The states with the greatest number of beneficiaries were Miranda (45,896), Bolivar (32,971), Zulia (16,762), Tachira (8,463) and the Capital District (7,165).
727 children and adolescents, adults and elderly people at risk received specialized protection services, including individual psychosocial care (338) and legal advice (389). 43 at-risk adults and children and adolescents benefited from access to legal documentation; 2,523 people with specific needs received material assistance; 8,054 people from the community and institutions received training in prevention and mitigation of protection risks, and another 76 people also participated, as part of the process of strengthening community centers and spaces. Moreover, 4,625 people benefited from the strengthening of state institutions in Zulia (Civil Protection and CONARE), Barinas (Ombudsman's Office), Apure (Ombudsman's Office), La Guaira (Ombudsman's Office and Los Caracas Isolation Center), Carabobo (Ombudsman's Office), through the provision of material assistance to ensure the rights of people with specific needs.
752 girls, adolescents and women accessed GBV response services, including case management services (237), legal support (79) and individual psychosocial assistance (436). A total of 7,437 children, adolescents and adults benefited from GBV prevention activities, including the delivery of dignity kits, reaching a total of 520 girls and women in communities in Tachira, Bolivar and Apure. Part of these activities were carried out in 3 PASIs in Tachira and Bolivar. These actions were complemented with training on GBV prevention and mitigation (70) and on the establishment of safe spaces.
13,683 at-risk children and adolescents (most of them between the ages of 5 and 17) and their caregivers benefited from individual and group psychosocial support. 48,860 children, mostly under 3 months of age, had access to birth certificates in hospitals (of these, 30 civil birth records), and 12,890 affected and at-risk children and adolescents had access to administrative services and child protection programs. Moreover, 55,233 people from the community were trained in child protection issues (including the Guía Protege), and 1,066 people from state institutions responsible for the protection of children and adolescents and NGO members benefited from training and material assistance to prevent and respond to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of children.
It is necessary to expand psychosocial support sessions, as well as improve access to the judicial system for vulnerable people, including youth and the elderly, with special emphasis on disability.
Strengthened coordination between humanitarian organizations and institutions is required to make GBV situations visible and promote coordinated actions to help mitigate and respond to these risks, especially in the case of girls, adolescents and women, as well as people with disabilities.
It is also necessary to reinforce protection in intersectoral projects that include working with families and communities to develop safe environments for children and adolescents.