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Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 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]

Description: Description: Description: Honduras

Honduras is principally a source and transit country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Honduran victims are typically lured by false job offers from rural areas to urban and tourist centers, such as Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, and the Bay Islands. Honduran women and children are trafficked to Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, Belize, and the United States for commercial sexual exploitation. Most foreign victims of commercial sexual exploitation in Honduras are from neighboring countries; some are economic migrants victimized en route to the United States. Additional trafficking concerns include reports of child sex tourism in the Bay Islands, and some criminal gangs’ forcing children to conduct street crime. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009  Check out a later country report here or a full TIP Report here


CAUTION:  The following links 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 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 Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  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-



Easy prey for traffickers

Yampier Aguiar Durañona, Journalism student, Granma International, February 2, 2005

[accessed 10 June 2013]

NO ONE CAN OR SHOULD SELL OUR CHILDREN - On July 23, 2004, Aguas Ocaña, Honduras’ first lady, announced that the government was preparing a lawsuit against the US organization Orphans Overseas for offering an Internet network selling Honduran children for $11,500 each. "No one can or should sell our children," she added.  In an interview with the national HRN radio station, Ocaña affirmed that in 2003 the government had rejected a request from the US organization to operate in the country because it did not meet the legal requirements.  "The company is now publicizing itself on the Internet as an adoption agency operating in Honduras and what it is offering is the sale of Honduran children," she stressed.


*** ARCHIVES ***

Human trafficking a problem both in Central America and Central U.S.

Jeff Bahr, The Grand Island Independent, 10 Sept 2019

[accessed 10 September 2019]

In Honduras, human trafficking has 11 different categories, including sexual exploitation, forced labor and organ trafficking, said Martha Patricia Gonzalez, who is chief prosecutor for the Trafficking in Persons Unit of the Public Ministry.

Human Trafficking and the Children of Central America

Dr. Jarrod Sadulski, faculty member, Criminal Justice, American Military University -- In Public Safety, 21 August 2019

[accessed 21 August 2019]


There is a definite difference between human smuggling and human trafficking. Human smuggling is transportation based where a smuggler is paid thousands of dollars to guide children – who may or may not be accompanied by family members from Central America to the United States via the Mexico-United States border. However, many families with migrant children do not have thousands of dollars to spend on the trip, which often creates a gateway to human trafficking.

Human trafficking involves the exploitation of migrant families and their children who are unable to pay the costs of being smuggled to the United States. They may be susceptible to the three cornerstones of human trafficking, which are the sex trade, forced labor, or domestic servitude to pay off their debt for being smuggled to the United States.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Honduras

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 8 June 2021]


Forced labor occurred in street vending, domestic service, the transport of drugs and other illicit goods, other criminal activity, and the informal sector. Victims were primarily impoverished individuals in both rural and urban areas (see section 7.c.). Children, including from indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, particularly Miskito boys, were at risk for forced labor in the fishing, mining, construction, and hospitality industries.


Estimates of the number of children younger than 18 in the country’s workforce ranged from 370,000 to 510,000. Children often worked on melon, coffee, okra, and sugarcane plantations as well as in other agricultural production; scavenged at garbage dumps; worked in the forestry, hunting, and fishing sectors; worked as domestic servants; peddled goods such as fruit; begged; washed cars; hauled goods; and labored in limestone quarrying and lime production. Most child labor occurred in rural areas. Children often worked alongside family members in agriculture and other work, such as fishing, construction, transportation, and small businesses. Some of the worst forms of child labor occurred, including commercial sexual exploitation of children, and NGOs reported that gangs often forced children to commit crimes, including homicide (see section 6, Children).

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 28 April 2020]


Lack of socioeconomic opportunities combined with high levels of crime and violence limit social mobility for most Hondurans, and exacerbate income inequality. High youth unemployment and low levels of education help to perpetuate the cycle of crime and violence.

Human trafficking is a significant issue in Honduras, which serves as a source country for women and children forced into prostitution; adults and children are also vulnerable to forced labor in the agriculture, mining, and other sectors, and as domestic servants.

2017 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, 2018

[accessed 18 April 2019]

[accessed 28 April 2020]

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

[page 506]

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. (41; 42) Children in Honduras engage in the worst forms of child labor, including commercial sexual exploitation and recruitment by gangs into illicit activities. (43; 44; 45; 46; 36; 37; 47) Reports indicate that gangs sometimes threaten families as a means to forcibly recruit children into their ranks, where boys are used to commit extortion, drug trafficking, and homicide, and where girls are engaged in commercial sexual exploitation. (39; 36) 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. (43; 44; 45; 46; 36; 37; 47).

Immigrant sisters admit charges in human trafficking

John P. Martin, Star-Ledger, August 04, 2006

[accessed 21 April 2012]

Two Honduran sisters admitted yesterday that they helped smuggle dozens of illegal female immigrants -- some as young as 14 -- into the United States, then forced them to live together and work at North Jersey bars.

The admissions by Noris Elvira and Ana Luz Rosales-Martinez, during a federal court hearing in Trenton, brought to five the number of guilty pleas in what authorities say was a case of indentured servitude.

Under questioning from prosecutors, the women said they helped oversee dozens of illegal Hondurans who were forced to work six days a week and live in cramped Hudson County apartments until they could repay smuggling fees as high as $20,000.

The immigrants earned $5 an hour, plus tips, by dancing and drinking with male patrons at bars in Union City and Guttenberg. One ring member said the girls were encouraged to prostitute themselves; another said they were beaten if they ignored the house rules.

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.

Smuggled Honduran Women May Be Allowed To Stay In U.S., 10 February 2005 -- Source:,0,251994,print.story?coll=ny-region-apnewjersey

[accessed 14 July 2013]

But after delivering them to New Jersey, smugglers demanded fees as high as $20,000, then forced them to work off the debt by dancing with men in bars.

ABSTRACT - Nineteen women and girls from Honduras who were smuggled into the United States and forced to work in a bar may be permitted to stay in this country as protected victims of human trafficking, authorities said.

Focus on Children - Child Soldiers

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, International Child Labor Program, Sept 2002

[accessed 9 September 2014]

"At the age of 13, I joined the student movement. I had a dream to contribute to make things change, so that children would not be hungry….Later I joined the armed struggle. I had all the inexperience and the fears of a little girl. I found out that girls were obliged to have sexual relations to alleviate the sadness of the combatants. And who alleviated our sadness after going with someone we hardly knew?…There is a great pain in my being when I recall all these things….In spite of my commitment, they abused me, they trampled my human dignity. And above all, they did not understand that I was a child and that I had rights." - From a Honduras case study, cited in United Nations, Impact of Armed Conflict on Children: Special Concerns, 1998.

Human Rights Overview

Human Rights Watch

[accessed 8 February 2011]


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.

Most trafficking victims were young women and girls, who were trafficked to Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Mexico, the United States, and Canada for sexual and labor exploitation. Traffickers were reportedly locals as well as Guatemalan, Mexican, and in some cases Chinese or Taiwanese nationals. In a majority of cases, traffickers posed as coyotes (alien smugglers), claiming to facilitate border crossings and help immigrants enter other countries in Central America, Mexico or the US. In some cases victims were promised lucrative jobs but instead were forced into commercial sexual exploitation, drug trafficking, or debt bondage.

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 - 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.

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