The president of the Peruvian bishops' committee on the family has warned the country's Congress that lowering the age of sexual consent will turn Peru into a “sexual paradise” for tourists interested in child prostitution.
The Peruvian Congress is currently debating a measure that would lower the legal age of sexual consent from 18 to 14 years old.
Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren of Piura, Peru called the proposal “absurd and purposeless.”
“What do we want? Do we want this number to go up? Do we want sexual relations among teens to increase and thus see a rise in the number of pregnancies among teen girls?” the archbishop asked.
Archbishop Eguren said passing the measure would be “giving license to the unscrupulous to take advantage of minors who are not mature enough to understand the magnitude of sexuality.”
He added that statistics from Peru's government “indicate that less than 15 percent of teens have engaged in sexual activity before the age of 18.” The archbishop rejected claims by the Congressional Judicial Committee chairman, Rolando Sousa, who said the number was actually closer to 40 percent.
“In countries with more liberal laws than our own, sexual relations with minors is a crime that is not subject to any statute of limitations,” he said. “I would appeal to the good judgment of our lawmakers not to pass this measure and to instead take steps to protect and promote young people and the family,” he added.