The largest amounts of production and exportation of cocaine in the world come from Peru.
According to an article written in The Atlantic last year, between drug trafficking, human trafficking, illegal gold-mining and the timber trade, organized crime is estimated to rake in between $5-7 billion dollars per year.
“Most law enforcement specialists believe that locals run the production and local transportation of cocaine, while Colombian and Mexican intermediaries manage exports, with the recent appearance of the Russian mob to shake things up a bit. The business is supposedly straight-forward. Hundreds of campesinos (farmers) grow the crop, mainly in central and northern Peru. The cocaleros sell the coca leaf or coca base to clanes (small criminal groups often based around families), who ship either coca base or processed cocaine, to a handful of firmas (Peruvian organized crime syndicates), which shift the drugs to departure points (airports, seaports, and border areas) ready to move to Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Brazil. While some Peruvian capos (drug lords) are known to operate in neighboring countries, groups like the Sinaloa cartel and the Russian mob generally handle export.”
Though the government is executing plans to eradicate the illegal cultivation of these drugs and implement alternatives to production that will bring economic stability to communities, there is not much in the way of redemption for those who are caught up in this world.
Many families turn to growing coca leaves out of sheer poverty, and those who are trafficking often feel they have no other choice.
The women with whom I will be working in Peru have many different details, but they all share the same story: they were at the end of their road. Some chose trafficking because the lives they were living offered no hope or promise, some were forced by loan sharks or drug lords out of threat for their safety or the safety of their families, some had drugs unknowingly planted on them as a diversion to distract from larger shipments passing through. Whatever the circumstances, they all face the same fate: prison with some of the most notorious criminals in South America.
Because many of the women either have nothing to go back to, or they cannot return home because their documentation is either “lost” or “invalid” (particularly in the cases of those who traveled to Peru using someone else’s passport, thereby remaining nonexistent in immigration records), they stay in Lima after completing their prison sentences, even after parole.
This is where I come in. If you haven’t checked out the page above titled “The Ministry” you can head there for an explanation, but basically I will be going into the prisons on a weekly basis, as well as working with women who are living in Lima on parole.
I covet your prayers as I accept this assignment for which I am in no way equipped, but humbled and excited to partner with God to see His daughters set free, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.