Peru to Send Investigators to Human Trafficking Hotspots

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Peru has announced plans to hire four special prosecutors to investigate cases of human trafficking, a crime concentrated in regions with high levels of tourism or illegal gold mining.

Peruvian Attorney General Carlos Ramos Heredia said they have included the funds for these new positions in their 2015 budget request, La Republica reported. The specialized prosecutors will be based in three of the regions most affected by human trafficking: Lima; the city of Iquitos in the Loreto region; and the city of Piura in the Piura region. Another prosecutor will be based in Peru’s southernmost region, Tacna, and will presumably handle cases from two other areas where human trafficking is a significant problem: Madre de Dios and Cusco.

Ramos added that Peru’s Attorney General’s Office has held several meetings with representatives from Chile and Ecuador, in order to discuss increasing international cooperation between the three countries to fight human trafficking. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The crime of trafficking people for forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation often goes unpunished in Peru. According to the US State Department, just 41 human traffickers received convictions in the country in 2013. The government’s plan to hire more prosecutors is likely intended to improve Peru’s ability to open more trafficking investigations, and to successfully prosecute them.

SEE ALSO: Peru News and Profiles

As the map below illustrates, the regions with the highest number of human trafficking cases reported between 2006 and 2014 include areas with significant tourist industries, such as Lima, Cusco, and Piura.

Other affected regions are hubs for illegal mining, such as Loreto and Madre de Dios. Laborers are lured to these regions with promises of work and are then exploited, while mining camps are home to brothels full of trafficked women.

The illegal mining industry is deeply intertwined with human trafficking, and the US State Department noted that exploited Peruvians work “principally in informal gold mining.” The remoteness of these regions makes it especially difficult for victims of human trafficking to leave the mining camps where they are forced to work.

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