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New Study on Human Trafficking for Labour Exploitation in Peru's Logging and Gold Mining Sectors
A new study conducted by IOM and the Catholic University of Peru
sheds new light on human trafficking for labour exploitation in
illegal logging and gold mining in the Madre de Dios region of the
Peru is a country of origin, transit and destination for human
trafficking with a predominance of internal trafficking of women
for sexual exploitation. However, children and men are often
trafficked to work in the mining, logging and agricultural
The Madre de Dios region in southeastern Peru bordering Brazil
and Bolivia is a sparsely populated and isolated area with vast
natural resources, including precious woods and gold. In the
past five years the area has received more than 20,000 internal
migrants, leading researchers to believe that attractive job offers
are leading poor Peruvians from neighbouring regions to fall prey
to human traffickers.
The study confirmed that 90 per cent of the victims are men from
the high-Andean region who are trafficked to work in illegal
logging activities and the informal gold mining sector.
Twenty per cent of the males trafficked are boys between 12 and 14
"The men receive false employment offers and end up incurring
large debts that force them to work indefinitely without any salary
in order to pay off the supposed debt," explains Dolores
Cortés, coordinator of the research and IOM's Regional
The same tactics are employed to entrap victims who are
exploited to work in the chestnut harvest, as well as for sexual
exploitation and organ removal.
target="_blank" title=""> "BACKGROUND-COLOR: rgb(153,204,255)">La trata de personas con fines
de explotación laboral
The men working in gold mining said they were also offered certain
rights and benefits of gold found, but the promises never
materialized. The women are offered jobs as cooks or sales clerks,
but some end up forced into prostitution.
The traffickers offer their victims an advance payment of 200 to
300 Soles (between 6 and 9 US Dollars) and during the first three
months, the victims said they received clothing and food as well as
basic health care and medicines.
"The initial support provided by the traffickers serves to
entrap the victims. The victims see this as acts of kindness
and goodwill on the part of the employers," adds Cortés. But
their situation changes after this initial period.
The research titled: "Human Trafficking for Labour Exploitation:
The Case of Gold Mining and Illegal Logging in Madre de Dios (La
trata de personas con fines de explotación laboral: El caso
de la minería aurífera y la tala ilegal de madera en
Madre de Dios), was compiled largely using field research and
interviews with the victims, local and regional authorities, civil
society and local residents.
A member of the research team of the Institute for International
Studies (IDEI) of Peru's Catholic University managed to gain access
to the remote jungle areas and, armed with a mobile telephone,
transmitted information to his colleagues in the capital, Lima.
IOM and IDEI are holding a series of meetings with the
authorities to discuss the findings and to ensure the Madre de Dios
region becomes part of national counter-trafficking efforts.
Peru is also witness to high rates of human trafficking for
domestic labour with international trafficking mainly characterized
by women taken to countries such as Argentina, Japan, Spain and
other countries for sexual exploitation.
The report is available in Spanish at
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