TuVidaCambia (Your Life Changes) awareness raising campaign has been launched in Colombia to protect Venezuelan migrants and refugees from falling prey to trafficking and smuggling networks. This is a common danger Venezuelans face as they migrate through Colombia, as they seek places to settle, or while in transit to other South American destinations, including like Chile, Ecuador and Perú.
Implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), with financial support from the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), this new campaign is based on a song–#TuVidaCambia—which is, itself, an adaptation of a Venezuelan folk song, Sentir Zuliano*.
The song easily transmits prevention messages during the long and exhausting journeys of refugees and migrants crossing the country who are at risk of becoming victims of human trafficking given their significant levels of vulnerability.
Ana Eugenia Durán Salvatierra, IOM Chief of Mission in Colombia explained: “The new version of the song is performed by the band Vos y yo, formed by Venezuelan migrants residing in Colombia.”
She added: “The adapted lyric and other components of the campaign, including live presentations and printed and digital materials with prevention messages, support our goal to provide relevant information to raise awareness among refugees and migrants on the dangers of being deceived and compelled to work under forced labour conditions, becoming victims of sexual exploitation or mendicity, among other forms of trafficking in persons crimes.”
Vos y yo, the band that recorded the track, also travelled between Cúcuta, Colombia, the city on the border with Venezuela, and Bogotá, performing before over 1,000 people in some 20 live shows last week.
Venezuelan refugees and migrants received additional messages to prevent them from falling into human trafficking networks. This crime violates human rights and pursues economic or other benefits by exploiting people, both in and outside Colombia.
As of June 2019, over four million Venezuelans have left their country, with neighboring Colombia thus far their main destination, according to the Coordination Platform for Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants (R4V). As reported by the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, by 30th April 2019 nearly 1.3 million Venezuelans remain in Colombia.