Prostitution in Peru
is legal and regulated
Prostitution is legal for women over 18 years of age if they
register with municipal authorities and carry a health certificate
must be licensed.
Penalties for pimps and clients of underage prostitutes range from
four to eight years in prison .
Prostitution in practice
The vast majority of prostitutes work in the informal sector
, where they lack health
Poverty, displacement and corruption
among low-level officials lead to the proliferation of sexual
exploitation of adults and child
. Individual police officers tolerate the operation
of unlicensed brothels .
Although recently there have been some improvement, and raids to
led to the rescuing of trafficking
victims, numerous barriers to
effective police investigations of trafficking crimes remain,
including an inadequate flow of information and coordination among
police units at the local, metropolitan, and national levels, and
with prosecutors and other actors in the criminal justice system,
including social service providers.
One problem is that trafficking victims often lack personal
identification documents and many police release them without
classifying them as trafficking victims or referring them to
shelters. Many minors exploited in prostitution end up returning to
brothels in search of shelter and food.
It is estimated that Peru has about 500,000 child prostitutes
. Child prostitution is
common throughout the country, and especially in Peru’s isolated
Amazonian mining communities. In the Amazonian department of
Madre de Dios
exploitation of gold
has dramatically increased
the recruitment and coercion of adolescents into prostitution
through false employment offers .
are important causes of child
prostitution, part of the problem is also a social attitude that
views sex--including paid sex--between adult men and adolescent
girls as normal.Luis Gonzalez-Polar Zuzunada, president of La
Restinga (an Iquitos-based
nonprofit organization that works with at-risk children) said about
teenage prostitution:"It's not seen as a crime.
that's the way it is. Here, anyone is a potential client" .
Peruvian government recognizes child
sex tourism to be a problem, particularly in Iquitos, Madre de Dios, and Cuzco
Peru is a source, transit point, and destination for trafficked
persons. The majority of human
trafficking occurs within the country.
Many trafficking victims are women and girls from impoverished
rural regions of the Amazon, recruited and coerced into
prostitution in urban nightclubs, bars, and brothels, often through
false employment offers or promises of education .
Domestic trafficking occurres particularly in districts located in
or the Amazon jungle
, to bring underage girls into
cities or mining areas to work as prostitutes. Victims are recruited
by friends or acquaintances and through newspaper and Internet advertisements or street posters offering
employment; some victims are recruited by local employment agencies
that offer poor young women from rural areas relatively well-paid
"restaurant work" in Lima, Cusco, major
coastal cities, and abroad.
The principal victims and groups at high risk for trafficking are
children and young women from rural or poor urban areas, persons
living in poverty, persons with disabilities, victims of domestic
abuse, illiterate persons, and persons lacking birth certificates
or other identification documents.
Peru also isa destination country for some Ecuadorian and Bolivian
trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation .