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Unmasking Child Trafficking in Peru

An interview with ECPAT member CHS Alternativo

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In Peru, Laura’s (not her real name) life took a devastating turn when she fell prey to child trafficking.

Lured under false pretences of work, she found herself sexually exploited in the illegal mining area of La Pampa. 

A beacon of hope emerged in 2020, when Laura was rescued by the prosecutor’s office and received support services from CHS Alternativo, a child rights organisation and ECPAT member in Peru. As part of the comprehensive care provided by CHS Alternativo, she received psychosocial and legal counselling services, employment assistance, and attended empowering workshops to support her reintegration. Now in her fourth semester of nursing school, Laura’s journey is a testament to the vital role organisations like CHS Alternativo play in rescuing and supporting young survivors. 

While Laura’s story has a happy conclusion, countless child trafficking victims face a different reality—one where they are left behind, forced to endure the harrowing consequences of exploitation without the support they desperately need.  

On World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 2023, CHS Alternativo sheds light on the harsh realities of child trafficking in Peru and the plight of forgotten victims and survivors. 

What is the current situation of child trafficking in Peru?    

Worsened by budget cuts in anti-trafficking activities, reduced convictions of traffickers, and insufficient services for victims, child trafficking remains a persistent problem in Peru. 

The country is recognised as a source, transit, and destination for victims trafficked primarily for sexual exploitation and forced labour. While official figures point towards a distressing number of registered child trafficking cases, many cases go unreported due to children’s fear of aggressors, lack of information on reporting mechanisms, and distrust of authorities. 

What are the factors that increase children’s vulnerability to trafficking in Peru? 

Trafficking in Peru is one of the worst forms of violence that leaves women, children, and adolescents exceptionally vulnerable, especially when it involves sexual exploitation. 

Poverty is one of the biggest factors placing children at risk. In some cases, children and families experiencing financial hardships may be deceived with the promise of work, money, or a place to live.

The theme for World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 2023 is “Reach all trafficked persons, leave no one behind”. How do you think child survivors of trafficking have been left behind in Peru? 

Child victims and survivors can endure lifelong impacts of this crime, taking a toll on their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. This is why specialised care services are so important in ensuring that these children receive the support needed for recovery and reintegration back into society. In Peru, the lack of such care services for trafficking victims and survivors means that children are left alone to grapple with the aftermath of their traumatic experiences. 

What needs to be done to ensure that no child survivor of trafficking is left behind? 

With the number of child trafficking cases continuing to rise, it is evident that we need a stronger approach to ensure no child is left behind in their journey to recovery. To do this, we must establish effective mechanisms to monitor all registered cases of child trafficking. 

This means providing the necessary support services and determining if they were able to access justice and reintegrate into society. Equally important is identifying any signs of revictimisation or abandonment of legal processes and stepping in to protect children from falling back into exploitation.

About CHS Alternativo  

CHS Alternativo is an organisation with 21 years of experience specialising in the protection of the human rights of people, particularly children and adolescents in vulnerable situations as a result of human trafficking, smuggling of migrants, sexual exploitation, forced labour, child labour, and the disappearance of persons. 

Learn more about human and child trafficking:

Peru: A need to better protect indigenous children and prevent domestic trafficking 

Human Trafficking and its impact on women, girls, and children 

Summary paper on the sale and trafficking of children for sexual purposes