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Human Trafficking
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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                                                                                              

Republic of Honduras

Honduras, the second poorest country in Central America, has an extraordinarily unequal distribution of income and high unemployment. The economy relies heavily on a narrow range of exports, notably bananas and coffee, making it vulnerable to natural disasters and shifts in commodity prices; however, investments in the maquila and non-traditional export sectors are slowly diversifying the economy.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]


CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Honduras.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of child prostitution are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got started, how they survive, and how some succeed in leaving.  Perhaps your paper could focus on runaways and the abuse that led to their leaving.  Other factors of interest might be poverty, rejection, drug dependence, coercion, violence, addiction, hunger, neglect, etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the manipulative and dangerous adults who control this activity.  There is a lot to the subject of Child Prostitution.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims

International Organization for Migration
220 1100
Country code: 504-



If You Turn Up Dead, No One Will Wonder Why

Diego Cevallos, Inter Press Service News Agency IPS, Mexico City, Mar 10, 2005

[accessed 23 May 2011]

[accessed 6 November 2016]

These girls, boys and teenagers are offered up as "merchandise" in brothels, photographed nude for Internet websites, or forced to perform in live sex shows. Most are poor, and all are utterly denied their right to a safe and happy childhood. In Honduras alone, between 8,000 and 10,000 girls and boys are the victims of sexual exploitation, according to a still unpublished Casa Alianza study conducted last year in Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua.


*** ARCHIVES ***

ECPAT Country Monitoring Report [PDF]

Marta Gil Gonzalez, ECPAT International, 2015

[accessed 30 August 2020]


Desk review of existing information on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC) in Honduras. The report looks at protection mechanisms, responses, preventive measures, child and youth participation in fighting SEC, and makes recommendations for action against SEC.

Human Rights Reports » 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 10, 2020

[accessed 30 August 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - The commercial sexual exploitation of children, especially in sex trafficking, continued to be a problem. The country was a destination for child sex tourism. The legal age of consent is 18. There is no statutory rape law, but the penalty for rape of a minor younger than 12 is 15 to 20 years in prison, or nine to 13 years in prison if the victim is 13 or older. Penalties for facilitating child sex trafficking are 10 to 15 years in prison, with fines ranging from one million to 2.5 million lempiras ($40,000 to $100,000). The law prohibits the use of children younger than 18 for exhibitions or performances of a sexual nature or in the production of pornography.

2018 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2019

[accessed 30 August 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 607]

Honduras’ National Statistics Institute reported that 404,642 children between the ages of 5 and 17 worked in 2018. (1) Reports indicate that 20 percent of the Honduran population is of indigenous or African descent and that children from these groups are particularly vulnerable to child labor, including its worst forms. (1,32,35,37,38) Children who lack economic and educational opportunities are the most vulnerable and are also among the most likely to migrate to other countries. Once en route, they are also vulnerable to human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. (32,33,39,40)

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 4 June 1999

[accessed 28 February 2011]

[34]. While the Committee takes note of the reforms to the Penal Code and of the training given to the municipal children's defenders to prevent and combat sexual abuse and exploitation of children, it expresses concern at the absence of data and of a comprehensive study on the issue of sexual commercial exploitation of children as well as the lack of a national plan of action to tackle this issue.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, 21/05/2001

[accessed 19 September 2011]

[20] The Committee is alarmed about the high number of children who are forced to work to support themselves, and in particular about the serious situation of street children and the existence of street gangs (maras). In this regard, the Committee is also gravely concerned about the high incidence of sexual abuse, exploitation and prostitution of children in the State party, and about the lack of a national plan to address these issues.

[40] The Committee urges the State party to undertake urgent measures to introduce rehabilitation programs for street children. The Committee also urges the State party to address the issue of sexual abuse, exploitation and prostitution of children by adopting a national plan to combat the problem, including collecting relevant data and conducting a thorough study of the issue.

Catch a falling star

W. E. Gutman, Honduras This Week, La Ceiba, July 14, 1997

[accessed 23 May 2011]

[scroll down to Monday, July 14, 1997 Online Edition 62]

CHEMISTRY OF PROMISCUITY - Representatives of Casa del Niño, where I first learned about Chusito, mince no words. "La Ceiba is the hub for child prostitution. Tourists, possibly members of a loose organized crime confereration, regularly come to Honduras to exploit minors. While there is no open child prostitution per se, networks exist that supply children to pedophiles. The center is near the Parthenon Beach Hotel. Many of the girls are well under 16. There is a street for boys, too... Carnivals and other events attract large numbers of visitors who exercise great stealth, pay cash and command the silence of their accomplices."

According to Casa del Niño, there are about 50 homeless children in La Ceiba, an overly conservative estimate by their own accounting. "We've really no way of knowing. Most are between 10 and 16. Most are boys. Illiteracy, irresponsible paternity are all at work. Some families have not a gram of conscience when it comes to procreation. Use of Resistol among them is universal. It's sold freely in the Centro Commercial. Pimps and sex tourists often pay the children with cans of the deadly shoe glue. It's a case of turpitude further debased by criminal indifference...." - sccp

Guatemala: Where Sexual Exploitation of Minors Is Not a Crime

Alberto Mendoza, Inter Press Service News Agency IPS, Guatemala City, Oct 13, 2006

[accessed 23 May 2011]

[accessed 6 November 2016]

But hers is not an isolated case. Although no precise figures are available, in 2002 it was estimated that 2,000 minors were sexually exploited in Guatemala City alone, according to a report by Casa Alianza (the Latin American branch of the New York-based Covenant House, a child advocacy organisation) and ECPAT (an international NGO working to end child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children).

Of those 2,000 minors, 1,200 were from El Salvador, 500 from Honduras and 300 from Guatemala itself. María Eugenia Villarreal, ECPAT director for Latin America, says Central America is a hub for trafficking in minors, child pornography and sex tourism.

10 Indicted in International Human Smuggling Ring - Young Honduran Women Forced to Work in Hudson County Bars

Michael Drewniak, Public Affairs Office, U.S. Dept of Justice, U.S. Attorney, District of New Jersey, July 21, 2005

[accessed 30 August 2011]

The women, mostly from rural, poor villages in Honduras – some as young as 14 – were recruited under the false promise of getting legitimate jobs as waitresses in restaurants in New Jersey. Once brought to Hudson County by way of a safe house in Houston, Texas, however, they were put to work at several bars owned by the ringleader and subject to physical and emotional abuse, according to the Indictment.

Five Years After Stockholm [PDF]

ECPAT: Fifth Report on implementation of the Agenda for Action

ECPAT International, November 2001

[accessed 13 September 2011]

[B] COUNTRY UPDATES – HONDURAS – The activities carried out to tackle CSEC in Honduras have been limited. UNICEF Honduras and the Save the Children Fund have carried out two research projects and a capacity building project for the police. One research project looked at the sexual exploitation of street children in Tegucigalpa and the other was a mapping of the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children by both locals and foreigners in Honduras. The capacity building project aimed to teach the police about CSEC. A manual was developed with information on the correct procedures which police should follow when dealing with cases of abuse and sexual exploitation

Honduras Gets Tough On Child Prostitution

The Economist

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 23 May 2011]

The abuse has grown so blatant that such willful disregard is no longer possible. Exactly how big the problem is, no one is quite sure, only that over the past couple of decades it has been getting worse and that western visitors are much to blame. In Tela, for instance, as many as 40% of the 120,000 annual visitors to the town could be sex tourists.

Child Prostitution: A Growing Scourge

W. E. Gutman, The Panama News, Vol. 10, No. 7, Tegucigalpa, April 17, 2004

[accessed 23 May 2011]

[accessed 5 November 2016]

[accessed 22 October 2017]

A REGION OUT OF CONTROL - Promised jobs and scholarships, Honduran girls, some as young as 13, are routinely being trafficked by crime syndicates and sold to brothels in Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico.  Most of the street girls rescued by Casa Alianza are victims of prostitution.

HUGE PROBLEM, SCARCE ASSETS - Honduras Security Minister Oscar Alvarez, who oversees his country's law enforcement apparatus, acknowledges that child prostitution is out of control. He attributes his agency's unexceptional successes to "acute" understaffing.

Report of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

Ofelia Calcetas-Santos, Special Rapporteur, UN General Assembly, Fifty-fifth session, 10 August 2000

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 23 May 2011]

[45] In January 2000, a court in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, sentenced three American men to jail terms of between four and nine years for promoting the prostitution of minors and profiting from the prostitution of others.

[46] In April 1999 the Honduran Criminal Investigative Unit and staff from the non-governmental organization Casa Alianza had investigated a night club operating in San Pedro Sula. Hidden cameras documented the participation of underage girls as "exotic dancers" who were also offered to clients for sex. In private rooms, the girls danced naked for less than $5 per song, and above the night club was a hotel where the girls were reportedly taken to be sexually abused. A late night raid was carried out on the premises, at which time the American men were arrested and several firearms were found. Also detained in the raid were 17 of the "dancers", who included at least five minors aged from 14 years old. Several of them had become homeless in the devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

Underage teens are abused in Honduran honky-tonks

David Adams, St. Petersburg Times, 6 July 1999

[accessed 23 May 2011]

The arrests highlight what child advocates say is a growing problem in the dirt-poor countries of Central America. Although abuse of minors is common in the Third World, Americans are increasingly becoming involved in child prostitution rackets.

Honduras: Child Prostitution On The Rise

ECPAT International Newsletters, Issue No. 36,  1 September 2001

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 23 May 2011]

According to a recent report from UNICEF and the Project for Communication and Life (COMVIDA), over 500 minors are prostituted in the city of San Pedro Sula. Interviews with 100 children reveal that the majority of these children come to the city to escape broken or abusive families. Nearly all reported being raped, and most had been abused sexually and suffer from sexually transmitted diseases.

Child Sex Trade Rises in Central America

Serge F. Kovaleski, The Washington Post, San Jose Costa Rica, 2 January 2000

[accessed 23 May 2011]

While some minors are pushed into prostitution by families that are unable to support themselves, most underage sex workers in Central America are street children, many of whom, studies show, had fled sexual abuse at home. In Honduras, the number of homeless minors has grown sharply in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch last year.

Sex Tourism Plagues Central America

Paul Jeffrey, UMW-Response Magazine for United Methodist Women

[accessed 23 May 2011]

Street children who used to sniff relatively inexpensive glue are now turning to crack, readily available in the region as Central American military officials, no longer living high on the hog from U.S. military assistance, turn to drug trafficking to make money. Since crack is more costly than glue, street kids are more likely to sell their bodies to finance their habit.  In the last two years, governments in the region have begun to crack down. A teacher from Pennsylvania, is serving a 10-year jail sentence in Honduras after being found guilty of sexually abusing two 12 year-old boys in a room at the Parthenon Beach Hotel.   In April of last year, police in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, raided a nightclub offering sex with girls.  Four U.S. men were arrested in the raid. As of November, two of them remained in a Honduran prison.

Child rights advocate speaks at U.N. meeting on contemporary slavery

Honduras This Week, June 28, 1999

[accessed 23 May 2011]

[article on the right]

"If you are an enterprising foreigner in Honduras, you can set up a bar and offer little Honduran girls for sex to the other visiting tourists. Or in Costa Rica, if you are a tourist, you can buy sex from little girls, but often only in the morning as they have to go to primary school in the afternoon," he added.

In his presentation, Harris described the worrisome boom of child sex tourism in Costa Rica and Honduras, where more and more visitors are coming each year exclusively to have sex with minors. Attacked by a complex network that involves Internet sites, local hotels and bars, taxi drivers, and "professional" pimps, numerous poor girls and boys -- as young as 10 years old -- are falling victims to those sex predators, as they find in prostitution their only means of survival.

Regional Governmental Congress on Sexual Exploitation of Children  [PDF]

Teodolinda Pineda, Government of the Honduran Republic

[accessed 19 November 2016]




The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 8 February 2011]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - There is evidence of child prostitution in Honduras, particularly in tourist and border areas. The U.S. Department of State reported that observers have identified over 1,000 victims in 2003. Honduras serves as a source and transit country for girls trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation.  Honduran girls are trafficked internally and to the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, and other Central American countries for the purpose of prostitution. Children have also been reportedly trafficked to Canada for prostitution and the sale of drugs.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 9 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – Women and children were trafficked into Guatemala and also internally, most often from rural to urban settings. The commercial sexual exploitation of children was a serious problem. As of October Casa Alianza estimated that there were approximately 10 thousand children who were victims of some form of commercial sexual exploitation. The Office of the Special Prosecutor for Children conducted 30 operations jointly with the police, the Honduran Institute for Children and the Family (IHNFA), judges, and Casa Alianza, to rescue victims and arrest and prosecute those responsible for these victims' exploitation.

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