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Mafia in South America: The greed for female hair / Latin America News


In Latin America, business woman with hair flowers. Gangs attacked passers-by and cut their braids or entire clump from. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro of Hair Mafia declared war: “Our girls are sacred.”

“Hair,” says Diana Pito, “Hair is a status symbol for us.” A long and thick mane was in South America, the classical ideal of beauty, says the young woman and runs his spread fingers through his black hair, as it tend to do for women in shampoo commercials.

Diana Pito sitting in a café in the Colombian city of Popayan, drinking peppermint tea from a glass and tells a story that is somewhere between robbers gun and organized crime. She tells of how women’s hair has turned their country into a coveted commodity – and how to lay hands hair thieves with knives and scissors in pigtails and ponies of Colombians.

“For about three years there is a growing market for women’s hair,” says the 28-year-old, who works for a human rights organization. Real hair wigs and especially extensions, called extensions, always enjoyed great popularity.

What used to be adorned only models and beauty queens, in many parts of South America is now considered hip. And in some cities of Colombia are looking for hairdressers to downright hair donors. “Buy women’s hair – in clumps or as a whole” – stands in beauty salons.

Hair worth $ 1.3 million

Venezuela / Haarraub

Internationally obviously increases the demand. According to information from the Spanish newspaper “El País” business with real hair is an increasingly lucrative business. Thus, since 2011 the U.S. imported only hair worth of 1.3 million dollars (about 980,000 euros). The industry organization Professional Beauty Association (PBA), registered in the U.S. a growing increase in the purchase of real hair in the hairdressers. And in the UK to be implemented with real hair extensions each year up to 70 million euros.

It is primarily a styling theme, believes Diana Pito. Afro-Colombians as it stood, to smooth strands to braid her hair or put on wigs to get closer to the common ideal of beauty. “Also keep human hair extensions a year and the plastic just a month.”

Diana Pito also sold her hair about a year ago. “I then had no job and needed money.” For its roughly 90 centimeters long hair the hairdresser Diana paid 200,000 pesos, the equivalent of almost 80 euros.

There are the famous Peanuts when you consider that up to a thousand euros are on the black market in Colombia for human hair wigs to achieve. “And my hair fell loose for two hair pieces,” says Pito.

Fear of retaliation by the hair Mafia

But the supply is scarce and demand high. Accordingly, the profit margins are high. And where much money is that mafias are not far in Colombia. A friend of Diana have on the moped cut your hair and it injured a year ago in Popayán two guys.

The young woman was waiting at the bus stop for the bus, as the moped pulled up beside her. The passenger pulled out a pair of scissors and cut in a hurry, and he aufschlitze her half the neck. Does not want to talk about Diana’s friend, too big is the fear of retaliation on hair mafia.

Some hairdressers and wig maker only buy hair from people they know. But most of them would take human hair goods without asking for the origin from, telling a hairdresser. He also wants to remain rather anonymous.

The center of the hair Mafia is Colombia’s southwest. From cities such as Popayán attacks on women are repeatedly reported in Santander de Quilichao concentrate the Requestor Following the hair, and braider of wigs factories and are located in the city of

Hardly any concrete numbers

But not only in Colombia happen this bizarre crime. Also from Argentina and Brazil assaults are reported to lush hair. But especially in the cases of Venezuela have increased so much in recent times that the President took the thing itself.

President Nicolás Maduro urged the security forces at a public event on, “with a heavy hand against the Mafia to take action,” which cuts off the Venezuelan women’s hair. “Our girls are sacred,” assured Maduro. It’s called the hair thieves in Venezuela “piranhas” after the South American predator.

In the Venezuelan cities Hair Piranhas beat, particularly in shopping centers. Women have reported in local media always assumed that they were going on their long hair or braids before they noticed the attack properly.

In the oil city of Maracaibo is Eveling Mayor de Rosales even a undercover to expose the bands the craft. For an economic circumstance fired straight hair the illegal trade in Venezuela: The exchange restrictions imports have become expensive and complicated.

Has assumed the dimensions of the hair of prey in Latin America, is difficult to assess. Police and the judiciary can hardly give specific numbers because women bring the offense rarely displayed. However, media reports of attacks on again long-haired women and girls.

What became of her own hair, do not know Diana Pito. She had her hair then passed to a friend who had contact with a wig shop in Cali. “On the way her hair is even been stolen,” says Diana.

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