A Taboo Business in the Venezuelan Crisis

The Internet has revolutionized humanity.  In almost everything we do, we use Internet. Indeed, consider the windows of opportunities that this technology has created. Even in the erotic business, the internet has changed the game. Right now, the porn industry is commanding online business; it's worth an estimated $97 billion dollars, globally and the nature of the internet means that its products are accessible and global in nature. And, as a business, it can offer an “easy” way to earn money.

For reasons of convenience and financial benefit, there is a growing social trend of people selling their photos and videos of themselves on the internet. This phenomenon is particularly present in countries with underdeveloped economies. In Venezuela, for example, a nation with the highest inflation rate in the world and an ongoing economic crisis, the youth appeal to the erotic business to endure the crisis.

In an ocean of website where anyone can merchandise theirs “nudes”, the work largely consists in positioning one’s profile as a brand and maneuvering a client driven climate.
— Jorge Hernandez

Most young folks get started by using information they find on the internet; however, word of mouth also works as a good source of guidance and exposure.

The clients are generally males between 18 to 60 years old, from developed countries, but also hail from Saudi Arabia, India and China. These buyers are able and disposed to pay approximately $2USD per photo and sometimes more than $100USD for a long video. Customers also can become fans of the models and become regular buyers of their content.

Despite sounding like an easy venture, there are caveats and skills required. Venezuelan models, for example, have to know English as a second language in order to interact with the possible customers. In a land of limited internet access and electrical faults, many online industries suffer a hampering of business. Likewise, some customers want costumes and toys that are not produced in Venezuela and have to be imported; this could be very difficult in a country with exchange controls.

Probably the biggest difficulty faced by the models is the payment methods. PayPal is the platform through which most of these transactions are made, however, Paypal requires international credit cards: Venezuelan credit cards are not accepted. If a model does not have a PayPal, the model needs an intermediary that will charge a 20% commission. Other methods include Amazon gift cards and Bitcoins, which are also often sourced through third parties that take a large commission.

This is an increasingly common activity in Venezuela and at first glance it seems a taboo activity. Perhaps foreigners might find it hard to understand why an increasing number Venezuelan youth incur the sale of porn. However, we only need to look at the numbers to determine why this is so. The minimum wage in Venezuela is approximately 6 or 7 dollars and the flight of capital has limited job opportunities. On the other hand, for a young and attractive woman the "nudes business" could generate from $300 to $1000 per month. When needs grow and the lack of options are a constant reality, an "easy" method for earning money can be too good to refuse.

This social phenomenon is undoubtedly the direct consequence of 20 years of socialist revolution and without question the “nude” business will grow more and more with the passage of time if the crisis in Venezuela does not stop.
— Jorge Hernandez