In Peru, the disappearances of women and girls have worsened further with the confinement decreed in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. From March 16 to June 30, the country recorded eight daily disappearances, the majority of which were minors.
A year ago, Karin Alvarado Lopez, 39, came out to buy candy and never reappeared. “Karin left the house on August 27, 2019. Since that date, we, her family, we do not know where she is,” says Edward Alvarado, who has launched various initiatives with his parents to try to find his sister.
The office of the Defender of Rights indicates that in 2019, five women and girls disappeared per day in the country. The situation worsened during the lockdown period from March 16 to June 30. The figure then climbed to eight daily disappearances, or 915 Peruvians, of which 70% were minor.
“I am really totally devastated, frustrated with this situation and with the state institutions that do not support us,” laments Edward, 37, who lives in northeast Lima.
For families and feminist associations, the police and justice do not bother to investigate these disappearances. Peru has, however, a very high rate of femicides and there are many networks of human trafficking and prostitution.
In February, three weeks before the coronavirus burst into the country, the case of Solsiret Rodriguez, 23, who disappeared in August 2016, caused a stir. The body of this young student and activist against violence against women was found mutilated in a house in the capital.
“A disappearance is a femicide or human trafficking, it is not something voluntary, not anymore. Today, it is a way of killing a woman”, asserts the mother of the student, Rosario Aybar, who has been looking for her daughter for three and a half years.
-No national file of missing persons-
In 2019, the country recorded 166 feminicides, of which one in ten had been reported in the first place as a worrying disappearance, according to the office of the Defender of Rights.
Solsiret’s mother regrets that the authorities did not bother to find out what had happened to the young woman, until a new prosecutor took up the case. Her investigations led to the discovery of the student’s body in the house of her sister-in-law and her husband’s, where the student was living at the time of her disappearance.
The couple were jailed, but the legal process is currently at a standstill due to the Covid-19 epidemic, regrets Rosario Aybar, 60. Marcelino, the father of Karin Alvarado Lopez, also complains about the slowness of the investigation. “It’s been almost a year and we still have no results,” laments the 64-year-old.
Karin’s relatives organized rallies, had banners made, created pages on social networks, joined associations supporting the families of missing women; but without result for the moment.
“We must find out what happened” to all these women, insists the Defender of Rights, Walter Gutiérrez. “There is resistance from the police to investigate these cases. We demand that a national file of missing persons be set up,” adds Eliana Revollar, head of women’s rights in the office of the Defender of Rights.