EFEBy Carla Samon Ros Puerto Maldonado, Peru

A barren and muddy wasteland is all that is left of what used to be a lush Peruvian jungle that was pillaged during the so-called gold rush which transformed the area into a criminal hub of illegal mining.

Some 25,000 hectares of Amazonian jungle have been destroyed in La Pampa, Peru’s largest illegal gold mining area in the Tambopata national reserve located in the Madre de Dios region.

Despite pouring millions into the region to avoid deforestation on a massive scale and environmental pollution, organized crime is rife and the region has seen an escalation of violence, especially against women, and human trafficking.

"In La Pampa, there is no state presence or any authority that is in control of everything that unfolds there," Madre de Dios regional governor Luis Hidalgo told EFE.