IOM Study Recommends Greater Focus on Adult Female Victims of Trafficking in Honduras
New IOM research on human trafficking in Honduras recommends
increased support from the political and judicial sectors in
fighting the phenomenon and a greater focus on the prevention and
protection of adult female victims.
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The research, one of a series of studies carried out in Central
America and the Dominican Republic, confirms that although the
Honduran government has taken strong and decisive steps to combat
human trafficking, particularly that of minors for sexual
exploitation, the trafficking of adult women is not a priority in
the country. The research suggests that specific policies and
approaches are needed.
"The approach to combat human trafficking needs to be broadened
so that other parts of the population, especially adult women, are
protected and assisted. There is also a need to acknowledge
that human trafficking in Honduras is not only characterized by the
sexual exploitation of minors, but also by the trafficking of women
for sexual and labour exploitation and for domestic servitude,"
says Ana Hidalgo, IOM Regional Counter Trafficking Coordinator.
The study states: "The trafficking of women in Honduras is
linked to a culture of violence against women, which affects their
physical, mental and sexual integrity. It is a gross
violation of human rights which takes place in a systematic and
silent way, with total impunity and devoid of policies to provide
support to these victims."
The study recommends building the capacity of service providers,
including law enforcement and the judiciary; increasing public
awareness; more concerted efforts to collect solid data; the
standardization of the anti-trafficking law in order to close any
potential loop holes; and the strengthening of witness and victim
protection programmes which are under-staffed and under
Honduras is a country of origin for human trafficking.
There is evidence that many female victims are transported by land
to Guatemala and Mexico, while internal trafficking takes place
from rural areas and small towns to cities. The majority of
these victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation.
Trafficking for forced marriage is another occurrence. Young
women are lured into marrying older men from other communities or
with foreigners who travel to Honduras to find wives. The
study confirmed the presence of trafficking networks operating in
the country and using the Internet to market the women.
A young victim interviewed by IOM said she was recruited by the
one man she totally trusted, her pastor. He convinced her to
travel with a group of girls to the United States where he said he
had a contact who could find them jobs.
"I accepted because I am poor, I had no job. I wanted to
get ahead in life, and as the eldest daughter I thought I could
help my family," she explains. "I trusted him, he was our
pastor. He told us he could help us. He even came to
talk to my family, to explain that he would take care of us.
How can you not trust the pastor?"
Human trafficking for labour exploitation in the agricultural
sector and in the maquila industry (assembly plants) has also been
IOM carried out 14 national studies in Costa Rica, Dominican
Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama,
working with the Council of Women Ministers of Central America
(COMMCA) and the Central American Integration System (SICA), and
with funding from the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation
and Development (AECID). One set of studies focused on
legislation and its application and the others compiled the
horrific experiences recounted by adult women victims of
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