Venezuelan refugees recruited as child soldiers in Colombia: Report

Venezuelan refugees waiting for UNICEF humanitarian supplies in Colombia in April 2019.

(CNN)As Venezuelans flee their country in search of safety and economic security, another set of dangers awaits them across the border.

In Colombia's northeast, where many Venezuelans have ended up, rival armed groups control illegal border crossings and wreak havoc on civilians with killings, intimidation, sexual violence and recruit children as soldiers, according to a new report by NGO Human Rights Watch.
The report focuses on the impoverished Catatumbo region, where armed groups -- including the National Liberation Army (ELN), the Popular Liberation Army (EPL), and former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) -- wage bloody battles for control not only between each other but also on Colombian soldiers. The area is an important one for coca cultivation, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.