Family Members Behind Most Human Trafficking in Peru – IOM

Human trafficking in Peru is largely driven by families of the victims, rather than organized crime, the International Organization for Migration coordinator, Dolores Cortes, said during an interview with daily El Comercio.

Cortes said that in 2010 the IOM reported 253 cases of human trafficking in Peru, with 120, or 47 percent, in Lima, the capital. In second place for the number of victims is Cusco, where 14 percent of the cases were reported, followed by the jungle regions of Madre de Dios, Loreto and Ucayali.

Cortes said that in the 120 human trafficking cases in Lima, the IOM found that 110 of those victims were provided by family members. “And that is repeated in the jungle related to sexual exploitation,” Cortes added.

While in other countries there are some cases of family members trafficking children and adolescents, the level of incidents in Peru is much higher, said Cortes.

“The family, it is understood, is a space for protection for the child. But in Peru, when we look at trafficking for sexual exploitation, we see that it begins there,” Cortes said.

Cortes said that an investigation into the problem in Peru found that there were no organized networks or structures behind much of the illicit activity.

“You can’t have a policy against the armed networks, because they don’t exist,” Cortes said, adding: “In Peru, it is families that involve their children and youth in trafficking.”

The official said that this raises legal challenges for authorities in Peru as well as challenges on how to reintegrate children once they are rescued from exploitation. If the person who facilitated the exploitation is the dad or mom, then “where are you going to return the girl to? How are you going to reintegrate her?” said Cortes.

Cortes said it is necessary that the government launch a policy to educate parents, “who I don’t believe are bad per se.”

“Traditionally, families have had an economy where the sons are the providers from a very early age and as such support the family economy. That has become deformed in the modern age, because that is where people take advantage of the situation and where the trafficking comes from,” Cortes said.

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