Human Trafficking in Honduras
Honduras is a country located in Central America. Guatemala borders it to the west, Nicaragua to the southeast and the Pacific Ocean to the south, which makes Honduras a hub of activity in Central America. These 10 facts about human trafficking in Honduras highlight the critical information about human trafficking in general and what groups are fighting for the rights of human trafficking victims.

10 Facts About Human Trafficking in Honduras

  1. Human Trafficking: Globally, about 80 percent of human trafficking victims end up in the sex trade and another 19 percent of human trafficking victims find themselves subjected to labor exploitation. In total, approximately 13 million children and 27 million adults across the world find themselves subjected to human trafficking.
  2. Luring: While human trafficking is a worldwide phenomenon, rampant poverty in other countries influences it. Human traffickers often entice victims with promises of better opportunities to isolate them from those who could help them. This tactic is a common way to lure victims into both sex and labor trafficking.
  3. The Honduran Government’s Efforts: As of 2019, the U.S. government labeled Honduras a tier-two country in reference to how it fights against human trafficking. This classification means that while Honduras does not meet the minimum requirements for the eradication of human trafficking, the Honduran government is making significant strides to investigate and convict sex traffickers. An example of this is that the Honduran government increased funding to the Inter-institutional Commission to Combat Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking in Persons (CICESCT).
  4. Global Communities’ First Phase: Many non-governmental organizations work on the Honduran human trafficking crisis. One such NGO is Global Communities. Global Communities’ two-step program highlights efforts to eliminate human trafficking. The first phase of this program consists of raising awareness among Honduran citizens and increasing the ability of the regional government and NGOs to help victims.
  5. Global Communities’ Second Phase: The second phase of Global Communities’ plan is to provide a more advisory role when it comes to fighting against human trafficking in Honduras. This advisory role involves working as facilitators for CICESCT, which primarily worked to fight against sexual exploitation before 2012. With Global Communities’ help, CICESCT started lobbying the Honduran government for support for long-term campaigns against human trafficking.
  6. Human Trafficking Victim Ages: In Honduras, the average age when victims enter the human trafficking system is between 14 to 16 years old. A potential reason behind this is that family members of people in their hometown bring most young trafficking victims into the industry. Given that children would be much more likely to listen to someone they know as opposed to a stranger, this could explain the average age of entry.
  7. Forced Crime: Honduran trafficking victims not only find themselves used for labor and sex; another common form of trafficking is forced crime. A victim of forced crime trafficking will often find themselves thrust into drug-related crimes such as smuggling. Twenty-four percent of all human trafficking victims in Honduras are forced to commit crimes to the benefit of their captors.
  8. Gender Disparity: There are differences in trafficking rates between Honduran men and women. For example, 42 percent of labor trafficking victims are male, while 55 percent are female.  Only 13 percent of sex trafficking victims are male, while an astronomical 81 percent of sex trafficking victims are female.
  9. USAID Recommendations: As of 2018, USAID gave a list of recommendations that the government could use to improve its fight against human trafficking in Honduras. CICESCT has already enacted some suggestions, such as increased awareness among youth and LGBTQ individuals through programs. The CICESCT is lobbying for other improvements like expanded services for trafficked individuals.
  10. SEDIS: The Honduran Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion (SEDIS) works diligently to provide former victims of human trafficking with counseling, economic support and medical attention when necessary. SEDIS also distributed small loans to 21 victims to give them a leg up on starting a small business. These programs are incredibly beneficial to the well-being and recovery of former human trafficking victims.

These 10 facts about human trafficking in Honduras show that while Honduras has some catching up to do in the fight against human trafficking, the country is well on its way to eliminating it. Honduras will be able to take on the difficulties of modern-day human trafficking with groups like USAID, Global Communities, SEDIS and CICESCT. As these 10 facts have shown, eliminating human trafficking may be difficult, but it is most certainly a just and attainable goal.

– Ryan Holman
Photo: Flickr

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced this week that he will not retract his country’s official apology for its military’s use of sex slaves during World War II. Abe’s cabinet had been reviewing a landmark 1993 cabinet statement in which Tokyo acknowledged for the first time that the Japanese military had directly or indirectly been involved in establishing brothels for its soldier in territories occupied by imperial Japan during its brutal conquest of east Asia in first half of the twentieth century. Up to 200,000 women are estimated to have been forced to work as sex slaves in Japan’s military brothels.

Speaking on Friday to the budget committee in the upper house of the Diet, Japan’s parliament, Abe said he had, ” no thought of my cabinet revising,” the 1993 apology, known as the Kono statement, after then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono. “We must be humble regarding history… it should not be politicized or made into a diplomatic issue,” Abe said.

The decision by Abe, a rightwing nationalist who recently angered his country’s east Asian neighbors by visiting a controversial war shrine commemorating Japan’s war dead, is being seen as an effort by the hawkish prime minister to placate South Korea, which has criticized Tokyo for its perceived failure to atone for wartime atrocities. Japan annexed the Korean peninsula in 1910 and ruled it as a Japanese colony until the end of World War II in 1945.

Abe’s attempt to mollify Seoul, a strategic partner in countering China’s economic and military rise, comes ahead of a possible meeting between the Japanese prime minister and South Korean President Park Geun-hye next week on the sidelines of a nuclear disarmament summit in The Hague.

On Wednesday, Japanese Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Akitaka Saiki traveled to South Korea in a bid to lock down a meeting between the two leaders at next week’s summit. After meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Akitaka left without obtaining a commitment from South Korea for a meeting between its president and Abe, as Seoul continued to insist that Tokyo do more to make amends for it militaristic past.

The Prime Minister’s decision not to revise the 1993 apology comes about two weeks after Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced that Abe’s government was forming a team to review the Kono statement, in which Tokyo acknowledged for the first time that, “The then Japanese military was, directly or indirectly, involved in the establishment and management of the comfort stations and the transfer of comfort women.” Comfort stations is a Japanese euphemism for the brothels operated by the Japanese imperial military in territories conquered by Tokyo during its conquest of east Asia in the first half the twentieth century.

Abe’s refusal to revisit Tokyo’s groundbreaking admission represents a u-turn for the sometimes hard line prime minister, who at times has pushed a revisionist version of history that white washes over Japan’s wartime atrocities. When he was running to be the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party in 2012, Abe said “there was no evidence” that the comfort women had been forced to work in the brothels.

Late last year, Abe angered China and South Korea, both of which were occupied by Japan during the first half of the twentieth century, when he visited Yasukuni, a Shinto shrine that commemorates Japan’s war dead, including 14 Class A war criminals.

– Eric Erdahl

Sources: BBC, BBC, Nikkei Asian Review
Photo: Enformable

A charity associated with the US Peace Corps works hard in Kenya to end the ‘sex for fish’ trade, a common practice in which the risk of contracting the HIV virus is high.

Known the locals as “jaboya,” the transaction literally involves the act of trading sex for fish. Fishermen daily compete for business in Lake Victoria at the western end of the country to sell the fish they caught. Most of their clients, however, are women who are willing to pay with more than just money.

According to a fishermen interviewed by the BBC, a female customer will sometimes “pay 500 Kenyan shillings ($6) in cash and another 500 shillings with their body.” Despite being ashamed, he said that the women were tempting and couldn’t resist having sex with them. He promised his father, who also practiced jaboya, to always wear a condom.

However, statistics show that not everyone involved in jaboya is wearing a condom. The BBC claims that the HIV infection rate around the Lake Victoria area is at 15% and is “double the national average.”

But, why would people risk getting such disease? Lucy Odhiambo, a mother of five who was left widowed told the BBC that she is forced to purchase fish by pleasing men because that is the only option she has.

“Usually I sleep with one or two fishermen a week,” she said. “I could get diseases but I have no other choice: I have my children to send to school.”

Fortunately, the charity supported by the US Peace Corps is finally beginning to make a scene in the area. Although 19 women currently run it, the organization called Vired helps females look for their own catch instead of depending on men to do the fishing.

Managed by Agnes Auma – who practiced jaboya but quit after realizing how dangerous it was – Vired is a project that sells fish and uses the money to pay its staff. With more money, people like Odhiambo would less likely depend on men and risk getting a disease to support their children.

According to Avert, a UK-based organization, “Kenya is home to one of the word’s harshest HIV and AIDS epidemics.”

“An estimated 1.6 million people are living with HIV, around 1.1 million children have been orphaned by AIDS and in 2011 nearly 62,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses,” states Avert in its website.

To prevent the HIV epidemic in Kenya from getting worse, the world community needs to focus on putting an end to poverty within the country. However, attention is also needed in other African countries with a high HIV infection rate. Poverty results in the lack of material and health resources that makes contracting infectious diseases possible.

– Juan Campos

Sources: Avert, BBC
Photo: PeaceCorps