After long journeys by foot and bus, the women gathered in Ecuador’s capitol Quito to protest last week and call for a meeting with Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno.After several days of protest, Moreno agreed to a meeting with the group today.Amazonian leaders say they plan to discuss their mandate, particularly the sexual exploitation and harassment they face due to extractive activities in the Amazon and the loss of economic opportunity. QUITO, Ecuador – Nearly 100 indigenous women of the Ecuadorian Amazon spent five days protesting outside the country’s Presidential Palace last week. They were demanding a meeting with President Lenin Moreno and to personally deliver their political mandate. Authorities eventually agreed to a meeting between the protesters and the president, currently set for March 22. The “Mandate of Amazonian Women Defenders of the Jungle of the Bases against Extractivism” includes 22 points that the women say should be addressed immediately, most of which involve putting a stop to all oil and mining activities in the Amazon, an industry that has particularly dire consequences for women, they say. Point 2 of the document notes land-use issues: “We demand the annulment of the contracts and/or agreements and concessions granted by the Ecuadorian government to the oil and mining companies in the center-south of the Amazon, and we demand that the indigenous territories and peoples be declared free of activities of extractive products such as oil, mining, hydroelectrics and logging.” Zoila Castillo, vice president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (CONFENIAE), gives an interview to the media at the National Women’s Tribunal, where a mandate was drawn up against oil exploitation, extractive mining activities, and violence within their communities in Union Base, Ecuador, on March 9, 2018. Photo by Jonatan Rosas. Zoila Castillo, vice president of the Amazonian Indigenous Parliament of Ecuador, says these industries have caused major social problems. “It’s been more than 30 years that we have been organizing,” Castillo said in an interview. “Women are now saying enough with oil, but they keep exploiting more and more. Total contamination – be it illnesses, be it prostitution, be it drug abuse, alcoholism – all of this for a lack of work. There is no work.” Indigenous women who live around extractive areas are often the most vulnerable populations, according to several studies. They tend to face stronger economic barriers than men after their traditional lifestyles in the jungle are destroyed by contamination or community displacements, and they have a harder time than men finding work in local towns. This often leads to increased cases of prostitution as a means to make money, drug abuse and alcoholism, according to the latest study by Oxfam published in March 2017.