Venezuela's Prostitutes Cash In as Currency Traders

Venezuela’s brothels are a source for precious dollars
A prostitute at the Blue House brothel, where currency trading is a lucrative sideline Photograph by Vladimir Marcano/Bloomberg

The Blue House brothel in Puerto Cabello is clean and well-kept, with a patio and kitchen where women get three meals a day. Outside, the smell of sewage pervades the city’s squares and cobblestoned streets, littered with piles of garbage. In Venezuela’s biggest port, prostitution, which is legal, is a boom industry because the residents at the Blue House—and other sex workers—have become dealers in currency exchange. The prostitutes are paid in dollars by visiting foreign sailors.

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