Peru remains affected by high levels of inequality and social exclusion, despite achieving one of the highest rates of economic growth in the world over recent years (60.2% from 2002 - 2009):
- 7 of every 10 children under one are anaemic, as are 1 in every 4 pregnant women.
- Rural rates of chronic malnutrition in children under 5 are 40.3%.
- Chronic malnutrition in the region of Huancavelica (53.6%) is similar to Burundi, Madagascar or Malawi (53%).
- 87% of children with disabilities do not attend school.
- In Peru, 13.2% of the population speaks Quechua. Only 11% of 1 million indigenous children are taught in their native language, Quechua. As a result, only 2% and 6% develop skills for reading in their original language.
- Matriculation rates amongst indigenous girls in the Amazon (52.6%) are similar to those in Sudan (52%).
- In the first three months of 2011, there are more than 900 cases of violence and abuse against children.
- Only 12% of children under 3 years old have access to educational services1.
Trafficking of children
According to the Official System of Registry and Statistics of the Crime of Human Trafficking (RETA PNP), between 2004 and April 2011, there were 407 cases of trafficking. Of these, 76% are cases of sexual exploitation and 18% for labor exploitation. The 407 cases reported 1067 victims and 594 of them were children (536 girls and 58 boys)2.
Children used as soldiers
In Peru two conditions occur on the use of children in armed conflicts: first, the children recruited by the armed group Sendero Luminoso and the other, the numerous complaints about the enlistment of children by the Army.
During 2009, the Ombudsman received 109 complaints of child recruitment by armed groups3.
Children and natural disasters
The 2007 Ica earthquake left thousands of children in a vulnerable situation. In this context, Save the Children provided immediate help to protect the physical and emotional safety of four thousand affected children. Save the Children worked with more than two thousand children in emotional healing through art, and provided psychosocial care and prevention of post-traumatic stress to more than five thousand children.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (INEI), in Peru there are 3.3 million child workers; 33% of them are under 12 years. In addition, an estimated 141 000 children work in the street, 101 000 work at night and 87 000 are in contact with waste.
The same organizations reported that 2.3 million children have dangerous works. They are in contact with chemicals, heavy lifting and work long hours, especially at night.
Physical and humiliating punishment is a common practice in Peru. This harmful practice is socially accepted and it is not prohibited by law. In the first three months of 2011, the Ministry of Women and Social Affairs registered more than 900 cases of violence and abuse against children.