In face of the pandemic, the Peace and Hope office in Huánuco, Peru has had to be creative and flexible for how to accomplish our work there, which is primarily focused on the rights of children and adolescents to be free from sexual violence.
As efforts to curb the spread of the COVID virus were implemented, it became evident that the pandemic was magnifying the many disparities that already existed, and the vulnerabilities for the people and communities we walk alongside increased drastically. Along with ever increasing deaths from the virus, we also saw an increase need in basic necessities like food and shelter, an increase in sexual violence, and an increase in mental health and other acute health needs.
In the face of all this, the office in Huánuco has been able to minister by providing critical support in the healing process for children and teens that were rescued from sex traffickers and other forms of sexual violence this year. Key to this has been the role of a Community Promoter, who lives in one of the precarious human settlements built into the hills surrounding the city of Huánuco. Because the residents in these communities are in extreme poverty, most institutions fail to be present, such as police, health center, and even basic services found in most communities. This leaves children and girls in very high risk situations of sex traffickers and sexual violence.
The Community Promoter role is very instrumental to our success, because of the ability to identify children that are hidden away, experiencing sexual violence, so that we can intervene on their behalf. Additionally, the Community Promoter is able to effectively identify children who are particularly at high risk, so that we can take action and prevent them from being exploited before they experience violence. The Peace and Hope team also facilitates community workshops that are vital to this work, so high risk neighborhoods can organize themselves to prevent sexual violence, to better identify and protect vulnerable children in their neighborhood from sex traffickers.
Click here if you would like to support this important work. You can make a real impact today! We are thankful for where we see healing and restoration taking place this year, even in the face of great injustices and suffering.