U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Honduras
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||5 June 2006|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Honduras, 5 June 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d88f1f.html [accessed 24 April 2014]|
Honduras (Tier 2)
Honduras is a source and transit country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of 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. Honduran women and children are trafficked to Mexico, the United States, and Guatemala. Most foreign victims trafficked into Honduras for commercial sexual exploitation come from neighboring countries. Honduras is also a transit country for illegal migration originating outside the region, including China, and there are unconfirmed reports that some of these migrants are forced into debt bondage in Honduras 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. Over the last year, the government increased law enforcement efforts, passed anti-trafficking legislation, and educated officials and the tourist industry regarding anti-trafficking reforms. The government should sustain efforts to investigate trafficking within the country and cooperate with destination countries. It should also work with NGOs and civil society on public awareness programs targeting victims and improve protection for victims.
The Honduran Government increased its efforts to punish acts of trafficking during the reporting year. The government enacted reforms late in the reporting period to strengthen laws prohibiting commercial sexual exploitation. Law enforcement authorities initiated at least 37 new investigations and prosecuted 17 suspects for trafficking-related offenses, convicting 10 traffickers. Police raids rescued at least four underage victims of commercial sexual exploitation which led to four of the year's prosecutions. Authorities cooperated with Guatemala and the United States in joint anti-trafficking investigations. Border officials screened potential victims but had little success in preventing cross-border trafficking. There were no confirmed reports of officials prosecuted for complicity in trafficking, although corruption is a widespread problem and there were reports of lower-ranking immigration officials linked to alien smuggling and trafficking.
The Honduran Government made minimal progress in its efforts to assist trafficking victims during the reporting year. It operated no shelters for trafficking victims, but referred victims of trafficking to NGOs for services. The government supported several shelters that received and assisted minors deported or repatriated from abroad, though these shelters were not equipped to adequately care for trafficking victims. In September 2005, the government assigned a prosecutor to work with one of these shelters to identify trafficking victims and seek their assistance in building trafficking cases. Honduran consular officials in neighboring countries assisted Honduran trafficking victims by referring them to NGOs and coordinating their repatriation. Greater efforts should be made to direct trafficking victims to shelters and victim services in the country. The government should also increase efforts to aid adult trafficking victims and prevent the summary deportation of foreign trafficking victims.
The government made modest progress in prevention activities during the period. It trained 740 officials and over 100 key tourism representatives regarding the new laws against commercial sexual exploitation. A senior migration official used IOM training she had received to train her staff to recognize and investigate trafficking. The Honduran Government relied on NGOs and international organizations like UNICEF and IOM to implement most awareness campaigns that targeted victims.