HomeNewsBrief'Thousands' of Underage Girls Sex Trafficked to Peru Mining Town
BRIEF

'Thousands' of Underage Girls Sex Trafficked to Peru Mining Town

GENDER AND CRIME / 26 FEB 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

A newspaper's undercover investigation reveals the extent of sex trafficking in Peru, visiting a gold mining town where up to 4,000 underage girls are thought to be trapped in commercial sexual exploitation, which often flourishes alongside unregulated sectors like informal mining.

La Rinconada, in Puno region near the Bolivian border, is a town of around 40,000 inhabitants, 90 percent of whom earn their living through informal gold mining. Peruvian newspaper La Republica went undercover to report on the conditions faced by underage girls forced into prostitution after being lured to the town on false pretenses.

According to La Republica, many adolescents come in response to legitimate-looking job advertisements but are then forced to work as prostitutes at the town bars. The girls are paid only a small percentage of beer sales and must have sex with any customer willing to pay, receiving about a quarter of the profits.

Puno police believe that between 1,500 and 4,000 minors are sexually exploited in the town.

National police have estimated that approximately 50 percent of minors brought to La Rinconada as part of the sex trafficking trade are Bolivian, and the rest Peruvian nationals, reported Peru 21.

The government and police have not taken concrete measures to stop the business, according to La Republica, with only a few cases emerging when girls escaped. La Rinconada has a police force of just three men.

Peru’s Attorney General Jose Antonio Pelaez Bardales said that he has arranged for an investigation into the La Rinconada sex trade, reported Los Andes.

Peru’s Public Ministry received around 387 reports of human trafficking in 2012, with the majority in Lima, Cusco and Madre de Dios -- a gold mining region close to the Bolivian border, which borders on Puno. The cases included sex trafficking, forced labor, and even organ extraction.

InSight Crime Analysis

Sex trafficking in La Rinconada is part of a larger regional problem. In September 2011, Bolivian newspaper La Prensa reported that 20 Bolivian women had been rescued from forced prostitution in La Rinconada and surrounding areas after being recruited through false job advertisements in La Paz and El Alto, placed by human trafficking rings.

In October 2011, Peruvian authorities rescued at least 234 women, among them 10 minors, from Madre de Dios, on the border with Brazil and Bolivia. At the time, a Peruvian NGO estimated that as many as 400 adolescents and 1,200 adults were working as prostitutes in the gold mining town, many of them having been trafficked.

Bolivia has experienced growing problems with human trafficking, and in particular sex trafficking, in recent years, with the government reporting in 2011 that cases had increased by 26.4 percent since 2008.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COCAINE / 25 FEB 2021

Boquerón is an important part of regional cocaine trafficking routes due to its strategic location on Paraguay's border with Bolivia…

COUNTERFEIT / 5 MAY 2014

Authorities in Peru have confiscated tens of thousands of counterfeit dollars destined for Nigeria, highlighting the use of nations in…

ELN / 31 DEC 2018

A new report from a Venezuela non-governmental organization working on migration issues shows that Colombia's criminal groups have been recruiting…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.