Four Venezuelan women who had been captured to presumably work as prostitutes were saved by the National Police on Tuesday night.
La Republica reported that the four women, two 19-year-olds, one 18-year-old, and a minor of 17 were discovered locked in a hotel room when the receptionist heard them shouting and banging on the door asking to be let out. The receptionist called the police who arrived and freed them.
The women had come to Peru from the Ecuadorian border and had been captured by a Venezuelan man who had promised them good jobs in Peru. He then locked them in a hotel room and took away their passports and personal possessions to retain them.
According to Diario Correo, police found two passports in the hotel room, which presumably belong to the captor. The two passports bore the same photo but had different names, César Luis Hurtado Diaz and Aldín Ransés Espinoza Gonzales.
“The person behind this captured the young women, telling them that they were going to work in a club in the capital,” Cano told Diario Correo. “He tricked them with the promise of a good job.”
Head of the Tumbes regional police, Richard Cano Pérez, told La Republica that his intelligence sources had alerted him of the presence of a human trafficking network that is capturing women from Venezuela and forcing them to work in the sex trade.
Diario Correo affirmed that the principal suspect was in custody, and Cano said that it was likely that they would make more arrests over the next couple of days related to human trafficking.
Kidnapping women for the sex trade is not a new phenomenon in the area, head of the Tumbes Defence Office Abel Chiroque Becerra told Diario Correo. He noted that there are groups on social media dedicated to capturing foreign women to offer them ‘good’ jobs.
“The people behind these networks offer good salaries and comfort,” he told the Spanish language paper. “[But] once the victim has been captured she comes up against a very different reality.”
He encouraged any women who were being exploited not to fear to go to the police, as this way they would able to slowly reduce the problem.
In 2016, Peruvian police reported that they conducted 764 different anti-trafficking operations and arrested 427 suspected traffickers. Every year in the Western Hemisphere, there are nearly 10,000 victims of human trafficking, according to the U.S. State Department.