Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Peru
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||4 June 2008|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Peru, 4 June 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/484f9a3528.html [accessed 25 April 2014]|
PERU (Tier 2)
Peru is primarily a source country for women and children trafficked within the country for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Most victims are girls and young women from the poorest and least developed regions of Peru, recruited and coerced into prostitution in urban nightclubs, bars, and brothels, often through false employment offers. Child labor remains a serious problem in Peru. Children and adults are also trafficked into conditions of forced labor in Peru's mining, logging, agriculture, fishing, and brick-making sectors, and as domestic servants. Traffickers typically use fraud and coercion to recruit victims through false job offers. Peruvians are trafficked to Ecuador, Spain, Japan, Italy, and the United States for sexual exploitation. The government acknowledges child sex tourism exists, particularly in the Amazon region of the country.
The Government of Peru does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The Peruvian government showed inadequate efforts to combat trafficking in persons, particularly in the areas of investigating and prosecuting trafficking acts, fighting trafficking-related corruption, and improving victim protection. Although a comprehensive anti-trafficking law was passed in January 2007, the implementing regulations have not yet been approved. Peru also has a draft national law enforcement plan on trafficking that is awaiting approval.
Recommendations for Peru: Approve regulations to implement the January 2007 comprehensive anti-trafficking law and the national law enforcement plan; intensify efforts to prosecute and appropriately punish trafficking offenders; establish and implement formal victim identification procedures; train police officers on the use of victim identification procedures and the referral of trafficking victims to protection services; increase protection services for victims; and conduct a widespread awareness and prevention campaign targeted at consumers of the commercial sex industry and child sex tourism.
The Government of Peru made modest efforts to combat trafficking through law enforcement in the last year. During the reporting period, the government did not approve the regulations required to implement the comprehensive anti-trafficking law enacted in January 2007. The new law defines trafficking in persons, strengthens sentencing guidelines, and provides protection for trafficking victims and witnesses. Without regulations for this law, however, effective police enforcement is not possible. The police in Peru's Trafficking in Persons Investigation section have received antitrafficking information and training. Although the number of traffickers identified by police increased from 39 in 2006 to 96 in 2007, and prosecutions increased from seven to 15, no traffickers were convicted during the reporting period. In February 2008, the Peruvian Police announced that it would upgrade the Trafficking in Persons Investigation Unit to a Division, and increase its personnel from six to a projected 30 to 35 officers. In January 2007, 59 teenagers between the ages of 11 and 17 were discovered being forced to work harvesting asparagus in northern Peru. They were rescued by police, and the company is being investigated for violating child labor laws. There are numerous barriers to effective investigations of trafficking crimes, including the lack of shared information among divisions within the police at the local, metropolitan, and national levels, and the lack of witness protection in the Peruvian justice system. Corruption is a pervasive problem in Peru, and it is widely reported in Peruvian society that individual police officers tolerate the presence of children in prostitution and the operation of unregistered and unlicensed brothels. However, there were no reported investigations or prosecutions of incidents of officials' complicity in trafficking. Although some employment agencies, tourist agencies, and other apparently legitimate businesses are reported to be involved in trafficking, none were investigated or prosecuted during the reporting period. Over the past year, Peru requested the extradition of individuals in Uruguay, Spain, and Venezuela for trafficking crimes.
The government provided limited protection for and assistance to victims of trafficking. The government does not have formal procedures for the identification of victims among vulnerable populations and for their referral to organizations that provide protection services. When detained by police, victims are rarely informed of their rights, and are not provided legal assistance or medical treatment. The police attempt to verify the identity of the victim and her age, and to contact parents if the victim is a minor. Victims usually lack personal identification documents and the police often release them without classifying them as trafficking victims or referring them to shelters. Many minors involved in prostitution return to the brothels in search of shelter and food. During the reporting period, the government showed modest efforts in identifying victims and referring them to government-funded domestic violence shelters, although these facilities continue to lack specialized services for trafficking victims. Fourteen new assistance centers were created across the country, some outside of Lima where trafficking is a significant problem. The Government of Peru did not encourage victim participation in the investigation or prosecution of traffickers, nor did it provide protection to victims or witnesses in any trials. The government did not penalize victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked.
The government sustained anti-trafficking training and prevention efforts during the reporting period. The Ministry of Tourism ran a campaign against child sex tourism directed at the tourist industry and gave anti-trafficking awareness training to 100 drivers of motorcycle taxis in Iquitos who pledged to report suspected cases of trafficking to police, particularly child trafficking. As of August 2007, the Ministry of Interior assumed responsibility for paying the salaries of those who staff a toll-free IOM-assisted hotline for the reporting of trafficking crimes. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs continues to provide a training session for consular officials on trafficking issues and illegal migration. The government did not take steps to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts or child sex tourism during the reporting period.