Peru is worlds fifth producer of gold and the Peruvian Amazon houses most of it. It lead to a real gold rush, where nowadays an estimated 40,000 miners are looking for luck, most of them from Cusco. Unfortunately at a high cost, protected forest is being turned upside down and huge amounts of mercury are polluting the land, the rivers and endangers people’s health.
Although almost all mining is illegal the Peruvian authorities do very little, partly because local authorities are involved in mining operations.
Smaller or bigger mining towns grow like mushrooms, they cater for miners not only in terms of food and equipment, but especially with prostitutes. Many of them are trafficked to the area, just like many children.
This story is part of Via Panam, Kadir van Lohuizen’s project about migration in the Americas.