Each 90 minutes a woman has disappeared in Peru so far this year, the vast majority girls or teenagers, Although the number of victims may be even higher in the regions of the country where restrictions to transit through the COVID-19 pandemic are maintained.
A total of 4,052 women were reported to the authorities as missing between January and last September, of which 2,894 were girls and adolescents, that is, 15 women a day, according to the most recent report from the Ombudsman’s Office.
Only during the quarantine that was applied in Peru between March 16 and June 30 to prevent contagion from the pandemic, 915 cases of missing girls and women were reported. In April there was a decrease of 170 complaints, but from May the figures begin to rise again to 234, in June to 358, in July more than 500 and in August they exceeded 600 disappearances.
“The phenomenon of disappearance is so painful that you don’t know if the person is alive or dead, their legal status is that of a person who exists but is not with you. This generates eternal suffering, a permanent uncertainty for the family of not knowing what to do, “Eliana Revollar, the deputy for Women’s Rights of the Ombudsman’s Office, told Efe.
The Ombudsman’s Office is concerned that the cases of disappearance of minors increased during the pandemic, but in regions that maintain a targeted quarantine has doubled, as in the jungle region of Ucayali, which has increased from 7 cases in August to 20 in September, or in the Amazon San Martín from 7 to 14 cases.
In the coastal region of Tumbes, on the border with Ecuador, cases increased fivefold in September and in the Andean region of Huancavelica they went from zero to three.
Evidence of other crimes
Revollar indicated that the National Police and the justice system have to take into account that “of 100 femicides that occurred from January to September, 25 have previously reported the disappearance of these women.”
“So there is a connection between what happens to them and the forms of violence that can be the cause of disappearance, many times, but also a consequence. femicide or human trafficking and a series of situations and humiliations that could be considered, if they are not taken into account for an immediate investigation, “he said.
Patricia Acosta has been searching for her daughter Estefany Díaz and her five-year-eight-month-old granddaughters for more than four years, who disappeared with her after attending a children’s party in the Ventanilla district, in the Callao province, neighboring Lima.
“I am fighting four years and five months without hearing from her. She disappeared going to the matinee of a neighbor in front of my house, she was invited by a first cousin, from that moment I don’t know anything about my daughter or my granddaughters, I’ve been looking for her everywhere, “Acosta said in an interview with Efe.
The woman denounced that at the police station “there has been a lot of negligence, despite the fact that there were two missing girls. When my son-in-law came to file the complaint they did not receive it, they told him that ‘suddenly he went with another person.”
The people who accompanied Estefany that day evaded the police by giving a false address and so far the investigations have been unsuccessful.
For the young woman’s mother, the “key to the truth” is in Estefany’s mobile phone, but to date her geolocation has not been deciphered due to delays in the tax investigation.
The pandemic does not stop gender-based violence
A tragic example that the COVID-19 pandemic was also the worst moment for violence against women is the case of Leslie Valeria Vicente, a 19-year-old young woman who went to work in the jungle city of Tingo María to being able to buy a laptop that allows you to continue studying at the university remotely.
“She was murdered on July 15, there is no suspect, I ask the prosecutor to put a hand to her chest, it is a great pain, it is not easy to be standing here until today,” her mother Clavelina Félix told EFE Espinoza.
“As poor We can only ask for justice to find the person who hurt my daughter, she was 19 years old, she had a goal, she wanted to get ahead, how did they do this unfairly, in what country do I live? “said Leslie’s mother.
Both women belong to the group “Families United for Justice – Not one murdered more”, which brings together 25 families who demand speedy justice for having cases of missing persons and victims of femicide among their members.
The group’s promoter, Magaly Aguilar, stated that “the impunity that exists in the country is atrocious, it is a mockery what the Peruvian State does “with the families of the disappeared or victims of femicide.
Aguilar fights for the murderer of her daughter Sheyla Torres, raped and slaughtered by her ex-boyfriend Romario Aco in 2018, to be sentenced to life imprisonment, after having received 15 years in prison.
National registry and emergency alert
The deputy of the Ombudsman’s Office pointed out that the complaints of disappearance of women must be greater than those reported by the Police, which is why she insisted that the Government comply with putting into operation the registry and the portal of disappeared persons, line 114 and a computer system of activation of emergency alerts for disappearance.
Revollar clarified that the disappearance of people is not a crime, but evidence of connection with other crimes, such as human trafficking, has been found.
“There is a proportion between the places of disappearance and the places where there is trafficking, such as Lima, in (the district of) Santa Anita,” the deputy said.
In addition, he stressed the need to work at a social and educational level to prevent adolescents from escaping from their homes, especially the LGTBI population, as they are victims of violence, abuse and insults, which ultimately exposes them to other crimes on the streets.