Government approves plan to combat human trafficking

19 June 2017

With the publication of the supreme decree 017-2017-IN, the executive has put in place a national plan to deal with human trafficking (2017-2021). See El Comercio. It includes initiatives to be taken forward in coordination with a number of ministries (interior, health, women, justice, education, labour, energy and mines, commerce and tourism). Each will have an assigned budget and strategic operational plan.

The plan anticipates that, by 2021, 80% of the victims of human trafficking will receive support from specialist services. It covers four strategic objectives: (i) work on implementing preventative strategies; (ii) reducing the risk factors in regions where trafficking is most prevalent (Lima and Madre de Dios top the list); (iii) providing services for the attention and protection of victims, with the number of centres for their protection increasing from three (at present) to ten; and (iv) strengthening the mechanisms for the detection and punishment of human trafficking.

According to La Prensa, Peru, Mexico and Colombia top the list of Latin American countries with the highest numbers of victims of human trafficking and slavery (most commonly for sexual and labour exploitation). Women and children between 13 and 24 are those most affected (93.77% of the total) in Peru, according to the Sistema de Registro y Estadística del Delito de Trata de Personas y Afines de la Policía Nacional (RETA-PNP).

This is very likely to be a gross underestimate given the large number of cases thought to go undetected. Cecile Blouin, researcher from the Institute of Human Rights from the Universidad Católica (Idehpucp) told La Prensa that “We don’t have reliable, current and consolidated data. Reality exceeds the data that we have, because trata is a crime that also happens in places that are very remote from the centre of Lima, for instance in Madre de Dios, a region known for [artisanal] mining”.

Blouin explained that this is a complex issue that involves many social and criminal structures (often in the shape of small clan-like operations) and requires further research and documentation. Very importantly, she stressed the need to sensitise the population “to fight against this [prevalent] indifference”.

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