Struggling to feed herself and her seven children, Venezuelan mother Zulay Pulgar asked a neighbor in October to take over care of her six-year-old daughter, a victim of a pummeling economic crisis. The family lives on Pulgar’s father’s pension, worth $6 a month at the black market rate, in a country where prices for many basic goods are surpassing those in the United States.

“It’s better that she has another family than go into prostitution, drugs or die of hunger,” the 43-year-old unemployed mother said, sitting outside her dilapidated home with her five-year-old son, father and unemployed husband. With average wages less than the equivalent of $50 a month at black market rates, three local councils and four national welfare groups all confirmed an increase in parents handing children over to the state, charities or friends and family. READ MORE