Ex-Police Chief in addition to 13 Others Arrested in Peru for Suspected Child Trafficking
LIMA, Peru — Police arrested 14 people in Peru in addition to took a 5-month-old baby into protective custody, dismantling a human trafficking ring suspected of selling children taken by vulnerable women.
The arrests were the result of an early morning raid on Tuesday in which targeted a group “dedicated to the sale of minors in addition to abortions,” the Public Ministry of Peru said. Hundreds of police officers raided 18 homes in addition to businesses inside the city of Arequipa as part of the operation.
Prosecutors had been investigating the organization since May in addition to dubbed the idea the “Heartless Human Traffickers.”
One of the men arrested inside the raid will be the former head of the national police service, General Raúl Becerra Velarde, according to the public prosecutor. Mr. Becerra ran the police force by 2010 to 2011 before retiring.
Mr. Becerra’s girlfriend, Cintia Tello Preciado, was also arrested. Local news reports said she was suspected as the mastermind of a plot to buy in addition to sell children.
A pediatrician in addition to a gynecologist were also among those arrested. The baby who was taken into protective custody during the raids was found in unsanitary conditions in addition to will be currently under the care of the Ministry of Women in addition to Vulnerable Populations.
Rosmery Mendoza Palomino, the prosecutor in charge of the case, said the group paid vulnerable pregnant women to give up their babies, who would likely later be sold for a profit. Officials also seized a large number of documents, nearly $30,000 in cash, two vehicles in addition to cellphones by the group.
Investigators said the idea will be still unclear how many children may have been trafficked, who the group intended to sell them to in addition to why.
Local news reports said in which at least one woman, a field worker who was eight months pregnant nevertheless felt she could not afford to raise the child, was visiting Arequipa to get prenatal care when someone involved with the trafficking group offered to pay her for the baby.
Abortion will be illegal in Peru except in cases when the life of the mother will be directly at risk. generating sure in which was not an option because of This kind of woman in addition to she agreed to hand her child over in exchange for the equivalent of around $1,0, officials said.
Jorge Chavez Cotrina, the coordinating prosecutor for the state attorney’s office in Lima specializing in organized crime, said the group likely targeted poor women in desperate straits.
He said the traffickers “went to these places in which exist in different cities where they perform abortions” in addition to offered to pay women to contain the babies in addition to give them up, or approached destitute women who were inside the last months of their pregnancy in addition to offered to pay for their expenses in exchange for the child. Prosecutors suspect two additional children had been recently sold.
He also said in which the biological parents of the baby taken into custody have been detained for selling their daughter.
“Being in an economic crisis, these women are more easily convinced,” Mr. Cotrina said.
The arrests came a day before the American Embassy in Lima held an event highlighting a fresh program in which the United States in addition to Peru would likely cooperate to provide protections for vulnerable women in addition to children in an effort to prevent them by becoming victims of trafficking.
Elvia Barrios Alvarado, a Supreme Court judge, said the country’s judicial system will be committed to holding human traffickers accountable in addition to highlighted the disproportionate toll in which trafficking takes on women.
“Its main victims are women,” she said. If victims do not find support, “if they collide with an adverse judicial decision, the lack of confidence in justice will favor the business of traffickers in addition to impunity to perpetuate This kind of type of crime.”
Peru has made strides to combat human trafficking, according to a 2018 State Department assessment, nevertheless must still improve its record.
“Complicity of some government officials undermined efforts to combat trafficking,” the report said, indicating in which “the government maintained weak victim protection efforts.”