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AMERS

Venezuelan migrant women's rights at risk due to informal jobs - report

BOGOTA (Reuters) - The majority of migrant Venezuelan women living in Colombia work informally in unstable jobs which risk their fundamental rights such as access to healthcare, education and housing, a report by academics and humanitarians said on Wednesday.

More than 90% of Venezuelan women in Colombia work long hours for which they are paid lower than the minimum monthly wage of about $240, according to an investigation by Canadian charity Cuso International and the Universidad Externado de Colombia.

“There is a situation of structural violence against women migrants in Colombia, which can be seen in working environments,” Alejandro Matos, Cuso International’s Colombia director, told Reuters.

The investigation found that while the average monthly income of a formally employed Colombian woman is 1.45 million pesos (about $400), a Venezuelan woman working informally receives 785,000 pesos - below the legal minimum wage.

In recent years Colombia has become home to more than 1.72 million Venezuelans - including 844,000 women - who have fled political, social, and economic crisis in their homeland.

Most migrants in Colombia are undocumented and scrape by in major cities working jobs in security, hairdressing, domestic services, retail or by selling what they can in the streets.

In some cases, women migrants face xenophobia and stigmatization related to sex work, the study found.

Gender-based violence against Venezuelan migrants rose 40% in Colombia during the first nine months of the year, versus the same period a year ago, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said on Wednesday in a separate statement.

Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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