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My name is Ani and this is my story:

When I was 19 years-old, my dream was to become a chef. But, at this time, I did not have the money to continue on with my gastronomy classes. I needed to figure out something quickly if I was going to be able to keep up my coursework. Then, I found what I thought was the perfect solution: a job offer on the internet to work at a restaurant with a great salary! The only thing the ad requested was for me to show up that same day so that I would not miss the opportunity. I did not have any other options, so I decided to go for the interview. That same day, I arrived at their chosen location to meet my future employer. Once I got there, some people attacked me and forced me into a car. I knew that I had been scammed but I feared how bad this would end up for me.

After many hours of travel, I arrived in a distant, unknown city. The middlemen who had taken me seized my papers and handed me over to a restaurant owner. They wanted to take me out of the country at the end of the pandemic for sexual exploitation. When my kidnappers were distracted, I was able to take advantage of the situation and contact my family who quickly called the police and prosecutor’s office to the restaurant.

Now, the sisters of Talitha Kum from Red Kawsay Peru are helping me get psychological and spiritual support that has already been so important to my recovery. I have also managed to get the help I need to continue on with my gastronomy studies.

Ani is one victim in a country where, unfortunately, there are many like her. In their 2020 report, the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) reported that 96.6% of the victims of trafficking in Peru for 2018 were women and 99.8% of these cases were instances of sexual exploitation. Additionally, out of the persons identified as victims of trafficking in persons by state authorities between Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, and other South American countries, Peru accounted for 83.6% of the citizenship of these victims.

(UNDOC “Global Report on Trafficking in Persons – Country Profile: South America”, 2020)