New reports out of Venezuela have unearthed a disturbing trend: parents, many of whom can no longer feed their children due to the country’s ravaged economy, are given away their children at an alarming rate.
According to a survey of three local councils and four national welfare groups, the rate of child abandonment has sharply risen as of late, Reuters reported. Charity groups are forced to compile their own statistics on the matter since the government does not keep track.
The average Venezuelan worker earns just $50 a month due to an economy that has been obliterated by a deep recession and sky-high inflation. Meanwhile, the cost for many basic goods are now comparable to those paid by consumers in the United States.
Up to 15 percent of the country feeds itself by sifting through trash left out by grocers.
43-year-old Zulay Pulgar gave away her six-year-old daughter to a neighbor, as she could no longer care for the little girl on the $6 a month she received from her father’s pension. Pulgar believes that giving away her daughter is better than letting her become a prostitute, get into drugs, or die of malnutrition.
Economists attribute the Venezuelan economic crisis to the socialist policies enacted by former president Hugo Chavez. Sitting president Nicolas Maduro maintained the expensive status quo despite the fact that oil prices had drastically fallen, depriving the country of its largest source of income.