Arequipa is the second largest and most populated city located in southern Peru framed by three volcanoes. The region is home to 1.2 million people.
Arequipa is a crucial processing centre for alpaca, llama, and sheep wool. Many people also live off tourists who visit the region’s bathing resorts, hot springs, and Inca ruins.
In the past years, and partly as a result of COVID-19, there has been an increase in the number of families who are living in poverty.
Since 1984, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Arequipa.
Some people in the Arequipa region are involved in the illegal growing, trafficking and selling of cocaine.
Recent studies have shown that there is an increase in demand for cocaine, and that this is directly linked to the rise in local production. Consumption increases in areas where drugs are being produced.
Around 90% of coca produced in Peru is used for illegal drug production using child labour.
In these cases children are exploited, working from 4am to 4pm collecting coca leaves, unable to attend school.
Throughout Peru, many children experience violence and abuse. Violence comes in many forms and can be physical or mental.
Children who live in poverty, especially in rural areas, have an increased chance of experiencing violence.
On top of schoolwork rural children must complete domestic chores and those related to their family’s livelihood, for example tending crops and livestock. With age, their responsibilities increase and so does violence if they don’t complete their tasks.