Venezuelan Women Are Selling Their Hair To Buy Painkillers

Venezuelan women are selling their hair to a Colombian border town in order to afford rations of food and pain killers.

Venezuelan Women Are Selling Their Hair To Buy Painkillers

by Lydia O'Malley |

There’s a chance your brand new silky pair of extensions from Columbia may be helping to fuel a new trend in Venezuela where the women are selling their hair to buy basic necessities such as food, diapers or medicines for their families.

Each day 200 women are crossing the borders to sell their luscious locks to dozens of middlemen, known as ‘draggers’, who then pass on the goods to the western Columbian city of Cali where they are sold as extensions. The haircuts take place on a bridge linking San Antonio, Venezuela, to Colombia’s La Parada which is one of seven stands around La Parada. Some women even bring their children so they can buy food straight afterwards.

Celina Gonzales, a 45-year-old street vendor, queued for an hour in the hope of selling her mid-length brown hair for all of 60,000 Colombian pesos, or $20. Which would be enough for food tickets back home.

‘I suffer arthritis and I need to buy medicine. This won’t be much, but at least I can buy painkillers,’ said Gonzales.

If you thought you've ever had a bad trim, many of the women end up leaving the stalls regretting their decision after recieving a sloppy haircut. Whilst others are turned away for having hair that was too short or too thin.

Entering into its third year of recession, the countries citizens are struggling to make ends meet in order to afford the expensive non-subsidized food such as rice which costs about a tenth of monthly earnings. Forcing them to search for scraps and live off starches.

It’s thought these exchanges could be another sign of the country’s spiralling inflation despite being rich in oil.

In 2013 the President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, promised to ban hair crimes following a gang of thieves known as the Piranhas forcing women to cut their hair off.

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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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