Peru’s indigenous women and girls from poor communities are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking, ending up in domestic servitude, forced sex work, and debt bondage.
But the government is trying to prevent this from happening by raising awareness of human trafficking through a radio soap broadcast in Quechua — Peru’s most common indigenous language.
“Traffickers take advantage of their vulnerable situation. There are circumstances and channels that have made them come to this,” said General Oscar Gonzales, head of Peru’s national police human trafficking and migrant smuggling department.
Voice of America reports:
The new soap opera — told in eight five-minute stories — seeks to warn of the dangers of trafficking in a more creative way, and by describing the crime in ways that make sense to indigenous people in their own language.
The words for human trafficking do not exist in many indigenous languages.
Peru’s interior ministry also launched radio talk shows in Quechua and the Aymara indigenous language in 2017 that discuss the high risks of trafficking that indigenous communities face.
“This is a clandestine crime … it’s invisible in the eyes of the general population,” said Cristian Solis, a coordinator at the interior ministry’s anti-human trafficking unit.
Last year around 1,000 cases of human trafficking were reported in Peru. Most involved women who were trafficked for sexual exploitation. Indigenous women and girls are seen as prime targets for traffickers who promise them well-paying jobs.
Around one in eight people of Peru’s 32 million people are indigenous, but they may only speak basic Spanish, making anti-trafficking hotlines and campaigns in Spanish difficult to access.
Mexico is one country that has made an effort to translate guides on human trafficking into 21 indigenous languages to help raise awareness of labor and sex trafficking among indigenous communities.