Meet Fiorella DurĢĮn, CHS Alternativo and delegate of the Global Freedom Exchange, a program hosted by Vital Voices in partnership with Hilton Worldwide. She is also a featured blogger for our participation in the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women.
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign that has been used as an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women.
In Peru, women and girls are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking when they do not have adequate resources and opportunities available to them. Sadly, human trafficking and sexual exploitation of children occur in all regions of Peru, and few people know or care. Many people conflate the sexual exploitation of minors with prostitution and thus blame the victim. Women and children are particularly vulnerable. The UNODC says that 57% of victims are between 13 and 17 years old, 85% of victims are women.
Lack of opportunity is the starting point for the victims, and many of the girls who are trafficked have been trapped after accepting a false job offer. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says that in 54% of the 1,548 registered trafficking cases in Peru since 2007 individuals were captured through a false offer of employment. Women and girls looking for opportunity often are forced by their situations to take jobs, but end up exploited and disappointed in their new realities.
It sounds like an impossible thing to change, but we have to start at the root of the problem.
For the past two years I have been working on human trafficking at CHS Alternativo, and four months ago I moved to Iquitos, an Amazonian city with the highest number of human trafficking cases nationwide. Here I am leading a pilot project funded by Terres des Hommes – Holland. This project provides child victims of sexual and labor trafficking and their families, especially mothers, with entrepreneurship training and job skills workshops. We are also allocating funds to some of the families to enhance their business plans and provide scholarships to adolescents for technical education.
We believe that as long as the economic conditions of families do not improve, there will always be the risk of falling victim to exploitation.
We seek to protect and empower women and children by building economic opportunities for families.