|Gabriel Prado, director of Lima’s Seguridad Ciudadana. (Photo: Andina)|
This past weekend, agents from Peru’s department against slavery and human trafficking, Divintrap, raided Calle Nicolás de Piérola in downtown Lima and rescued 54 women who had been forced into prostitution. Four were minors 17 and younger, and the rest were between the ages of 18 and 21. “They have been exploited since they were minors. These places had hidden rooms where prostitution took place,” said Basilio Grossman, chief of the department.
The minors are girls from Lima who were lured into capture with a promise of work as restaurant servers. Two were returned to their parents and the remaining two were housed in a shelter. None have wanted to give details on what happened. At first, they claimed that they went into prostitution of their own will, but later their statements began to show contradictions.
Still, some of the minors as well as the 18-year-olds were able to identify the woman that had recruited them as victims among the 10 detained suspects. Human trafficking consists of the capture, holding, transport and exploitation of children or adults by mafias that turn a profit from selling or renting them.
According to Betsy Córdova, secretary for Peru’s group against human trafficking, in 70 percent of cases the people in charge of capturing victims are women themselves.
Among the buildings raided last weekend, some had restaurant licenses. Others had façades of hotels, saunas and even corner stores. Gabriel Prado, director of Lima’s civil safety force, assured that the locales would be shut down.
“One of the priorities of this administration is a direct attack against trafficking, and for this we need the help of other organizations. On Friday, we had a meeting with the district attorney for crime prevention and the district attorney for family affairs, and soon we will form an integral-response team, since we must make a plan for where to send the rescued victims,” Prado said. Divintrap is planning to coordinate with the Lima council, which plans begin reviewing licenses for places with shady reputations in known trafficking zones.