The government maintained efforts to identify and protect trafficking victims. The national police database (RETA) recorded identifying 765 victims—including 148 girls, 38 boys, and 579 adults—compared with 1,600 suspected victims identified in 2018. Additionally, DIRCTPTIM, which maintained its own database, reported identifying 1,054 victims, including 222 children and 832 adults. The specialized prosecution unit reported identifying 476 victims, compared to 882 victims identified in 2018. It was unclear to what extent victim statistics from the national police, DIRCTPTIM, and the prosecutors overlapped. The government conducted trainings to help local officials improve their ability to correctly identify and refer trafficking victims, but reports still indicated that police and prosecutors’ efforts remained inadequate. The government lacked standardized procedures for officials to screen for indicators of trafficking among the vulnerable populations they assisted and refer potential victims to services. Police and prosecutors did not effectively identify indicators of trafficking among women in prostitution, and officials did not effectively distinguish between trafficking and similar crimes, including sexual exploitation and forced labor.
The government had several protocols for providing protection to trafficking victims, and recently developed a new, victim-centered protocol for reintegration of trafficking victims. The government did not specify any new outcomes as a result of the additional protocol. The Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations (MIMP) was responsible for coordinating and providing services to victims in partnership with regional governments. The anti-trafficking law (Law 28950) required the government to protect victims by providing temporary lodging, transportation, medical and psychological care, legal assistance, and reintegration assistance; but the government did not wholly fulfill this mandate. Officials cited the lack of adequate protective services as a key impediment to their ability to effectively combat trafficking in Peru, and victim services were often unevenly implemented due to lack of coordination at the national and local level. Criminal justice officials often did not employ a victim-centered approach, and at times they conducted anti-trafficking operations without adequate resources, such as safe places to screen potential victims and provide immediate care. No specific procedures or services existed for LGBTI victims, but the government developed a training guide to help improve service provider capacity; transgender victims, in particular, did not receive adequate care. Services provided to some victims of trafficking were largely the same as services offered to victims of violence or sexual exploitation.
In the previous reporting period, Peru passed a law to strengthen shelter services for victims of trafficking, but reports continued to show that many shelters for victims did not provide adequate levels of care. There were 395 emergency centers (CEMs) run by MIMP available for women and their accompanying children who are victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. These centers provided short-term shelter, as well as legal, psychological, and social services to an unknown number of female sex trafficking victims, but were not exclusively for victims of trafficking. One hundred and fifty of the CEMs are located in police stations. The public ministry reported 62 emergency spaces that women and children could access when referral to a CEM was not possible. Victims could access the spaces for short-term accommodation, but no specialized services were available to victims of trafficking. Many NGOs operated shelters or provided other services for victims without government support. There were no facilities exclusively for adult male victims, and reports indicated that men were often denied other services.
The government continued to implement a 2017 decree that established MIMP units responsible for providing protection to child trafficking victims. DIRCTPTIM referred identified children to MIMP in order to coordinate services; of the children identified, 130 victims received services, and 114 received care at a specialized shelter. The majority of victims who received services were girls. During the reporting period, the government significantly increased its capacity to provide specialized services to child trafficking victims. It acquired four new properties, refurbished them with support from a foreign donor, and opened new specialized shelters for child trafficking victims in the Cusco, Lima, Loreto, and Puno regions. The government continued to operate three additional shelters exclusively for trafficking victims in the Lima region, including a specialized shelter for girl victims opened in the previous reporting period, bringing the total capacity of these seven shelters to 130 children. Reports indicated that services and staffing at the specialized shelters were robust, with the inclusion of a full-time attorney, medical personnel, and psychologist on staff. However, all of the specialized shelters exclusively served girls. MIMP continued to operate 48 additional residential centers that child victims of trafficking could access, but these shelters were not exclusively for human trafficking victims and services in these facilities were lacking.
Of the victims identified in 2019, 454 were foreign victims, an increase from 235 foreign victims identified in 2018. The majority of foreign victims identified were Venezuelan, with 270 Venezuelan adults and 31 Venezuelan children identified. Other foreign victims included 55 victims from Colombia, 96 victims from Ecuador, one victim from Panama, and one victim from Bolivia. Foreign victims were eligible for temporary and permanent residency status, as well as monetary assistance, but the government did not report services provided to foreign victims. The government coordinated with NGOs to repatriate some foreign victims exploited in Peru; however, many of the foreign trafficking victims chose to remain in Peru. As a result of a bi-lateral partnership, Peru participated in a joint operation with Ecuador, resulting in 37 Ecuadorian victims identified.
The law required the government to provide legal representation to victims, to safeguard their legal rights, and guide them through the legal system. The government had several agencies responsible for providing psychological and social assistance, as well as legal advice to victims. A victim assistance program run by the public ministry reported assisting 920 victims with access to legal and psychological services. However, according to NGO reports, services were often contingent on victims providing statements to investigators. The government did not report whether any victims received restitution in 2019. Inadequate victim identification procedures may have led authorities to arrest, detain, or otherwise penalize trafficking victims for unlawful acts traffickers compelled them to commit. At times, authorities placed child victims in police stations among children apprehended for crimes, where victims faced conditions similar to detention while waiting for referral to shelter.