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Peruvian National Police Rescues More than 500 Victims of Human Trafficking

Peruvian National Police Rescues More than 500 Victims of Human Trafficking

By Eduardo Szklarz/Diálogo
September 17, 2020

During the first half of 2020, law enforcement forces carried out 31 operations to combat human trafficking in Peru, rescuing 437 peruvian victims (including 68 minors) and 71 foreigners (including eight minors).

The Peruvian Police Directorate for the Investigation of Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants published this information on July 30, on the World Day against Trafficking in Persons.

In 2019, the figures were even higher, as there was no coronavirus emergency. Authorities carried out 161 operations and rescued 1,054 victims (907 women and 147 men), 25 percent of whom were children and teenagers.

Nearly half of the 454 victims rescued in 2019 were foreigners. “This is due to the migratory influx of more than 1 million Venezuelans during the last two years,” Juan Antonio Fernández Jeri, general director for Democratic Security at the Ministry of the Interior, told TV Peru.

“More than 300 Venezuelan women were victims of this scourge in 2019, in addition to 96 Ecuadorean and 54 Colombian nationals,” he said.

One of the trafficking hot spots is the Peruvian Amazon, where traffickers bring teenagers from Colombia and Brazil to force them into prostitution in places known as “prostibares,” the news portal El País Brasil reported.

According to the Blue Heart Campaign, a United Nations’ initiative against human trafficking, seven out of 10 victims in Peru are recruited through fake job offers.

“Trafficking begins with the person’s recruitment, transfer, reception, and finally their exploitation,” Fernández Jeri said. “During this process, the potential victim is deceived several times to generate confusion.”

The official explained that international networks do not operate in Peru; rather, family groups join forces to commit the crime. “In the case of labor exploitation, they mainly go to areas with extractive industries, such as illegal mining sites in departments like Madre de Dios,” he said.

The military presence has deterred trafficking in certain regions of the country. “In La Pampa, since February, there has been a permanent presence of armed and police forces, which has minimized this type of criminal action,” Fernández Jeri said.