Peru is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labor and forced prostitution. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, there were reports that the terrorist group Sendero Luminoso, or Shining Path, recruited children as soldiers and drug mules. In the following excerpt, taken from the book Aguchita: Mercy and Justice, we read how it was a child soldier who shot and murdered Aguchita, a girl who was perhaps herself a victim of trafficking and forced into combat.
Moments later, the executions began. All those whose names had been called out formed a line and were executed one by one in front of the local people who looked on in terror. When it was Sr. Aguchita’s turn, a young girl soldier shot her five times: twice in the left side of her body, twice in her left arm, and once in the left side of the skull. This is how Aguchita died.
The Congregational Position Paper on the Trafficking of Women and Girls highlights how the Congregation seeks to analyze and address the root causes, examining and unmasking the links between trafficking and policies of economic injustice, violence against women, discrimination of the girl child, militarization, inadequate migration support, and the social acceptance of the prostitution of women and girls. We do not know if Aguchita knowingly worked with trafficked women and girls, but we do know that she actively challenged the issues which have been identified as the root causes of trafficking as she sought to fully empower women and girls in all spheres of activity. Do you have an awareness of the linked root causes that allow trafficking to continue in one form or another? What do you do to challenge these root causes and break the chain of human trafficking?