AMERICA/PERU - Trafficking of children in the Peruvian jungle, a tragedy denounced by very few

Madre de Dios (Agenzia Fides) - It is estimated that 212 children fell victims of human trafficking during the first two months of 2012 in the forest region of Madre de Dios in southeastern Peru, where "the Gold Rush" has existed for a long time: this was denounced by Oscar Guadalupe, director of Huarayo Association, noting however that this figure could be reduced in this period due to police operations.
Oscar Guadalupe made these statements at the presentation of the book "Human trafficking in the region of Madre de Dios", sponsored by several organizations (NGOs). The text points out that the lack of State presence which
has led to the flourishing of illegal activities in a region where 20 tons of gold are extracted per year.There is little information on human trafficking in Madre de Dios and there is no official figure for various reasons, notably the lack of complaints and the remoteness of the areas where mining camps are situated, where those abuses occur in homes which are in very poor sanitary conditions.
From the information gathered by Fides and according to police data, mentioned in the book, from May to December 2010 there were 17 cases of trafficking, of which 11 were for sexual exploitation and forced labor for six. The book also indicates that in the country 59% of cases of human trafficking is for sexual exploitation, 30% for labor exploitation, 10% for begging, according to information released by the Ministry of the Interior in July 2011, quoted in the book.
According to the deputy Alberto Beingolea, who attended the book presentation, the crime of human trafficking "is not sufficiently known" in society, we should work harder to "try to prevent, for the correct application of criminal law and to do something for the victims. " Last year 111 children under the age of 18 were housed in temporary accommodation of the Huarayo Association in the city of Mazuko, a point of passage to reach the mining camps in the area: there it was discovered that 59 of them were victims of human trafficking. Guadalupe has also highlighted the case of teenage children who prostitute themselves in mining camps and become pregnant, describing them "invisible victims" of gold extraction.
Huarayo Association is a non-profit civil Association, specialized in children's development in Madre de Dios (in the Peruvian Amazon), founded in 1998. Its objectives are to promote the overall development of children in the Amazon; the active participation of children and adolescents in the defense and dissemination of their rights; the fight against exploitation of children in the goldfields. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 10/5/2012)

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