In need of food and medicine, Venezuelans resort to selling hair

(MARACAIBO, VENEZUELA) (SEPTEMBER 18, 2017) (REUTERS) – In Venezuela, woman are resorting to selling their own hair in order to buy food and medicine as an ongoing economic crisis continues to wrack this petroleum producing country.

Hair prices vary depending on condition and length, but for women struggling to make ends meet on the monthly minimum wage of 136,544 Bolivares (approximately six U.S. dollars on the black market), the possibility of receiving 500,000 Bolivares (approximately 21 U.S. dollars on the black market) for their hair can mean the difference between eating or not.

Crismary Gonzalez, a stay-at-home mother with four children, has twice sold her hair as well as that of her 14 year old daughter to help put food on her family’s table. “My children come first, then my hair – hair grows back,” said 30 year old Gonzalez, who is waiting for her hair to grow back so she can sell it a third time.

The hair is used to make extensions or wigs and is bought and sold in local establishments.

Some Venezuelan women travel to Colombia or Panama where they receive even more money for their hair than in Venezuela.