U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Honduras
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||14 June 2004|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Honduras, 14 June 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d82738f.html [accessed 28 March 2015]|
Honduras (Tier 2 Watch List)
Honduras is a source and transit country for women and children trafficked for sexual exploitation. Many victims are Honduran children trafficked from rural areas to urban and tourist centers such as San Pedro Sula, the North Caribbean coast, and the Bay Islands. Observers documented more than 1,000 minors (mostly Hondurans) that were victims of commercial sexual exploitation in 2003. Foreign victims trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation originate from Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and El Salvador. Honduran women and children are trafficked to the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, and other countries in Central America. Honduras is also a transit country for illegal migration originating outside the region. Illegal migrants, such as Chinese, are known to transit Honduras. Willingly smuggled, many are later forced into debt bondage to pay off their smuggling fees.
The Government of Honduras does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. A few committed government officials are active on trafficking issues, but results are modest, particularly in view of the large number of victims. The government continues to lag on arresting and prosecuting traffickers. For these reasons, Honduras has been placed on Tier 2 Watch List.
Honduras lacks a comprehensive law enforcement strategy and anti-trafficking law, but authorities mount occasional operations against traffickers. The government reported 11 trafficking-related arrests. In addition, authorities arrested four Chinese smugglers whose cases may include a trafficking dimension. Currently, three prosecutions are ongoing. There have been no reported convictions. Honduran police arrested international trafficker Roger Galindo in cooperation with U.S. officials. Higher priority needs to be given to arresting traffickers who operate underage brothels with impunity.
The Honduran Government lacks a plan to assist trafficking victims. Some training of immigration and consular officials to identify victims has taken place and Honduran authorities have assisted in the return of victims from Mexico and Canada. Domestically, government policy remains ad hoc. Rescued child victims are placed in shelters financed by international donors and run by NGOs, but government efforts to remove children from brothels are largely ineffective. Foreign victims of trafficking are subject to summary deportation.
Although lacking a comprehensive prevention plan, Honduras has developed a strategy to focus on preventing the trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation. A working group of government agencies, international organizations, and NGOs developed a national plan against the commercial sexual exploitation of children and women, and has drafted legislation to strengthen the law against such crimes. This draft legislation was presented to the President of Congress on March 23, 2004. This plan includes a national awareness-raising campaign. The government supports, with international donor assistance, social and educational programs to help children in poverty. Honduras needs to increase its border monitoring efforts to interdict traffickers and rescue their victims.