Turn on the Light

Human Trafficking
in Peru

Human trafficking is considered modern-day slavery, and there are more slaves today than at any other time in history. It’s estimated there are more than 21 million human trafficking victims worldwide.

This is the story in pictures of some of those most affected by trafficking in Peru.


Peru is a source, destination and transit country for men, women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking.

Peruvian women and girls, and to a lesser extent boys, are exploited in sex trafficking within the country. They are often recruited through false employment offers.

Peruvian men, women and children also are exploited in forced labor in the country, particularly in logging, agriculture, brick-making and gold mining.

In some parts of Peru, human trafficking has a strong connection to illegal gold mining.

Women and girls exploited in sex trafficking near mining communities are often unable to leave because of the high cost of transportation and the remoteness of the camps.

Workers are quite often recruited in their own communities. They may be told stories of others striking it rich, but are provided with very few details about their conditions of employment.

Some may be given money or clothing as “gifts.”  Those “gifts” turn out to be debts that need to be repaid. Other workers are sometimes sold by their family members, who receive money for recruiting them.

“Daniela” was rescued from sexual exploitation at age 17 by Peruvian authorities. She was taken to a shelter located in Cusco, Peru.

“Alexandra” was rescued from a trafficking ring when she was 16.  Authorities say the victims of human trafficking are becoming younger.

This is “Fany” and her father “Felix.” Fany was kidnapped from her home and taken to Madre de Dios in the Peruvian Amazon. Her father looked for her for a month. He found her working in a brothel. She was 12 years old.

Catholic Relief Services and Church partners work to prevent human trafficking and to protect the victims. Campaigns explain triggers of trafficking to people and bring real-life testimony to communities. People who have escaped or survived trafficking rings are brought back to tell their stories.

Girls rescued from sexual exploitation receive embroidery training at a sexual exploitation victim shelter in Cusco, Peru. They also receive psychosocial support while they prepare to return to their homes.


CRS supports work where policies on trafficking are developed.

Click here to learn more.


Turn on the Light

Human Trafficking
in Peru


Photography by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS
Written by Rebekah Lemke, CRS
Produced by Philip Laubner, CRS


The world's most vulnerable need you.

Please share their story.