In this video, Guillermo Galdos, a reporter for Britain’s Channel 4 news, shows how illicit and unregulated gold mining harms not only the environment, but the lives of women and girls in the region who are lured by false promises into sex work. Watch the video below:

Via El Útero de Marita: Hundreds of young women and girls are sent to Puerto Maldonado each year by their families and promised work, only to end up in “prostibars.” Their average age is 16, though some are as young as 12. Catherine, a 19-year old prostitute interviewed in the video, describes how she was promised work as a waitress when she arrived at age 16, and stayed because she needed the money to support her young daughter.

Though the miners deny it in the video, the sex trafficking in these communities is clearly linked to the influx of men working in the illicit mines. Galdos also visits a mining site and observes how the miners mix the mercury and gold in a bucket with their feet– then claim that the water is still safe to drink, which as we know, is far from true.