Last update: July 28, 2014
Honduras is principally a source and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; to a much lesser extent, Honduras is a destination for women and girls from neighboring countries subjected to sex trafficking. Honduran women and children are exploited in sex trafficking within the country and in other countries in the region, particularly Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and the United States. NGOs report that LGBT Hondurans continue to be vulnerable to sex trafficking. Honduran men, women, and children working in agriculture, street vending, and domestic service within the country are vulnerable to forced labor. Honduran men, women, and children are also subjected to forced labor in other countries, particularly in Guatemala, Mexico, and the United States. Indigenous Miskito boys from Honduras have been identified as potential trafficking victims on a fishing vessel in Jamaican waters. NGOs report that gangs and criminal organizations exploit girls in sex trafficking, and coerce and threaten young males in urban areas to transport drugs, engage in extortion, or to be hit men. Honduras is a destination for child sex tourists from Canada and the United States. Latin American migrants transit Honduras en route to northern Central America and North America; some of these migrants are subsequently exploited in sex trafficking and forced labor.
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. Between 2013 and 2014, the government significantly increased the number of law enforcement officers focused on human trafficking and dedicated funding to the interagency anti-trafficking commission, reflecting increased political will. Authorities achieved the first convictions for trafficking involving adult victims. Law enforcement efforts, however, continue to be inadequate and primarily focused on child sex trafficking. The government relies on civil society organizations to provide the vast majority of services to victims and lacks guidelines to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, including children engaged in the worst forms of child labor. Data collection on law enforcement and victim identification efforts continues to be weak.
As a result of its efforts in 2013-2014, the Government of Honduras was moved up to Tier Two from the Tier Two Watch List on the Department of State’s 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor for Children in the Public Ministry handles trafficking cases. The Inter-Institutional Commission to Combat Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking (CICESCT) coordinates Government of Honduras and civil society efforts to combat trafficking in persons.
Multiple sections and agencies at the U.S. Embassy in Honduras and the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons are working with civil society and the Government of Honduras to increase efforts to investigate and prosecute all forms of trafficking, ensure specialized services and shelter are available to all victims of trafficking, and increase prevention and identification of potential trafficking victims.
The Department of Justice, Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training assigned an attorney to Honduras to work with the Public Ministry’s Office of the Special Prosecutor for Children on trafficking in persons cases. Officers from the Department of Homeland Security – Office of Homeland Security Investigations work with vetted units of the Honduran National Police to investigate and arrest human traffickers. And the Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP) provides funding to civil society organizations to increase awareness and prevention of human trafficking, and to provide specialized services for trafficking victims.