Student Voices

Travel Report: Monika Krzeminska, Latin American Studies

April 16, 2014

Monika Krzeminska, a Master's student in Latin American Studies, received a Graduate International Research Travel Award to further her research in Peru. Her report:

Thanks to the funding I received from GIRTA I traveled to Lima, Peru in order to conduct research on human trafficking for my MA project.

During my stay in Lima I was interviewing government officials, psychologists, activists from NGOs and the United Nations who dedicate their work to combat human trafficking in Peru. Interviews lasted between 30 minutes to one hour. Before doing my research in Peru I assumed that human trafficking is a hidden and neglected problem in Peru with little media attention.

Although the fight against human trafficking and anti-trafficking policies are relatively new in Peru, the state has done a good job making this problem visible during the last 3 years (Peru’s first-ever human trafficking sentence was announced in March 2013, National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking was adopted in 2011).

I learnt from my research that there seems to be a tension between different actors who deal with the problem of human trafficking in Peru (Ministries, NGOs, women’s organizations). Although they share the same goal, there is a difference of opinion among them about how human trafficking should be approached, which form of trafficking in persons prevails in Peru, which populations are most vulnerable to this crime etc. Thus, the cooperation between these actors is very weak - they have different/separate databases regarding the cases and victims of human trafficking which makes it even harder to create a general, national picture of the nature of human trafficking in Peru.

I came to understand that different actors in Peru perceive the problem of human trafficking in many different ways (NGOs tend to see it in a broader social context - as a consequence of weak and informal economy that puts person in vulnerable position. They suggest that labor trafficking is the most dominant but hidden form of human trafficking in Peru. Governmental actors, on the other hand, seem to adopt a narrow understanding of human trafficking. They see it as a problem of sexual exploitation of women without reference to other forms of trafficking. In addition, the official statistics do not reflect the complex nature of human trafficking in Peru (most cases go unrecognized as they do not fit into narrow definition of human trafficking adopted by the state and the state officials simply confuse them with other situations such as sexual and domestic violence etc.) 

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