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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                             

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 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 aspect(s) of street life are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got there, how they survive, and how some manage to leave the street.  Perhaps your paper could focus on how some street children abuse the public and how they are abused by the public … and how they abuse each other.  Would you like to write about market children? homeless children?  Sexual and labor exploitation? begging? violence? addiction? hunger? neglect? etc.  There is a lot to the subject of Street Children.  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.


Honduran Government Complicit In The Murder Of Street Children

Shravanti Reddy, Digital Freedom Network, December 17, 2002

[accessed 23 May 2011]

[accessed 5 December 2016]

As their moniker suggests, street children have few options but to live or work on the streets for survival. They are among the most impoverished and marginalized within society.  Murdering street children in Honduras is considered part of an unofficial "social cleansing" program.

Viewed as "vermin" by security forces and business leaders, the national media has also played a role in branding street children as "troublemakers," blaming them for everything from violent crime to driving away foreign investment and tourism.  The consequence has been that these deaths have caused little reaction among the public who consider street children as undesirable, despite the fact that the portrait of them painted by the media and government is inaccurate.


*** ARCHIVES ***

Honduras Street Gangs Torture Children to Death if Refuse to Join

Agence France-Presse AFP, Tegucigalpa, 10 May 2014

[accessed 13 May 2014]

[accessed 5 December 2016]

Kids, even very young kids, are often killed if they refuse to join powerful street gangs, a scourage plaguing the poor Central American nation reputed to be the world's most violent place.

This second grandson was only seven years old. He was shot and tortured, his body found wrapped in a sheet and dumped in a vacant lot in San Pedro Sula, north of the capital, Tegucigalpa.   The grandmother and the mother of the child were already in shock after the death three days earlier of another of their children, aged 13, in similarly grisly circumstances.   In the space of a month, six more school-age children were murdered in San Pedro Sula, and authorities say the reason was the same -- they had refused to join a street gang.

An average of 86 children and youths under the age of 23 have been killed per month since January 27.

Long helps needy children in Honduras

Liza Matia, The Progress, February 21, 2009

[accessed 23 May 2011]

Despite that, the country is seething with street children turned out by parents who could not afford, or didn't want, to take care of them. The majority are uneducated, dirty and addicted to huffing glue.   "It's cheaper than food," Ms. Long said, "and it takes away their hunger."   "Most came from abusive homes," she recalled. "Their families just didn't want them. They're such amazing kids; they're all really bright. It'd be sad to think your mom didn't care about you."   Hondurans see the street kids as a nuisance, Ms. Long said, and many become desensitized to them after seeing them day after day. Those who do want to help can't because they lack the capacity to handle the kids' drug addictions.

Narconon Trains Foreign Addiction Counselor

TransWorldNews, 12/21/2007

[accessed 23 May 2011]

The orphanage in Honduras took many street children in, only to find that they would run away, back to the streets, to feed their addiction.  The safety and comfort of the orphanage were not stronger than the addiction to the glue and the orphanage personnel searched for solutions.

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 - 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

Commentary by Willy E. Gutman

[Last access date unavailable]

An estimated 100 million children now live and often die on city streets around the world - about one tenth in Central America. Heir to political chaos, social turmoil and bankrupt economies, street children are the first to suffer the penalties of a world family in disarray.

The price they pay is incalculable. By far the most horrendous fate these children must endure is the violence that permeates their existence. They live in constant fear. Because most turn to petty crime to survive, and often use inhalants to soften the harsh reality of their hostile environment, they are viewed as "vermin." This perception, ignored - or bolstered - by indifferent or openly belligerent governments, has helped unleash a tide of violence against the world's fastest growing minority, its most vulnerable denizens: street children.

Violence against street children - always condoned, often decreed - has returned to Guatemala and Honduras with a vengeance. Reports of torture, unquestionably the worst human rights violation, and the deprivation of life by extrajudicial execution - its most extreme form - are now being filed with alarming regularity.

Street children in Honduras

The Friends of El Hogar

[accessed 23 May 2011]

In Honduras, the majority of street kids live in Tegucigalpa or San Pedro Sula, the two largest cities in the country.  Most of them flee from homes where abject poverty, violence, alcoholism, and familial disintegration are the norm.  They may beg, steal, dig through trash, shine shoes or do other odd jobs in order to survive.  Most of them become addicted to toxic "yellow" glue, which is highly addictive and extremely damaging to the human body.  Many Honduran street kids do not make it to their eighteenth birthday.

Solvent Abuse, Certain Death for Street Children

Thelma Mejia, Inter Press Service News Agency IPS, TEGUCIGALPA, 17 April 1995

[accessed 23 May 2011]

Honduran street children are increasingly turning to solvent abuse to escape from the cruel reality of their lives - a sure route to an early death.  The diminutive fourteen-year-old Santos Ortez is one of these children.  His father abandoned the family when Santos was eight and he left home when living with his prostitute mother became impossible.  He soon began abusing solvents to escape from his harsh situation: ''When I was in the street I felt like I was in my family, because the other children had the same problems as me. We liked to dream sniffing Resistol, because then life was different.''

Market Children vs Street Children

Chrystelle Zweidler, Jeremy Hall, and Michael Lewis, Students at Tulane University, December 13, 2002

[accessed 23 May 2011]

Because of the great poverty of Honduras, it is very difficult to distinguish street children from non-street children. Anything with four poles and a roof can be a home.

Mission Awareness Team Report

Jericho Christian Television, 6 December 2004

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

[accessed 23 May 2011]

The job that Oscar and Amy have taken on is enormous when you consider the sheer number of children that live on the streets of the major cities of Honduras A report published in 2000 by UNICEF estimated that there are at least 100 million street children in the world.  Fifty percent of these children can be found in Latin America In Honduras and Nicaragua it is estimated that between 8 to 12 % of all children below 18 are working and or/living in the streets.

Most street children are boys and leave their homes around the age of 12.  Market children are in general younger and the gender distribution is more equal.  Overall, street children face more and more severe risks than do market children.  They suffer from physical violence and arrests.  The number involved in prostitution is increasing and is estimated that up to 90% of the street children sniff glue.  Illiteracy is widespread and only around 8% of the street children of Honduras attend school.  The lack of education among street and market children prevents them from earning a steady income in the future and hence they are trapped in a vicious circle of poverty.

Child – South America


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

[accessed 23 May 2011]

STREET KIDS’ LOCKED UP - Street children in Honduras are being locked in shelters as the nation fights crime, begging and gangs. Faced with chronic poverty and a soaring crime rate, the Honduran government last spring began a sweep of street children, removing them to government-sponsored centers.

Getting Free of Gangs in Honduras

Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers

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

[accessed 23 May 2011]

To shake up the gang mentality he has set up a fútbol (soccer) league which has blossomed into 11 teams five boys' teams, four girls' teams and two mara units. "My short-term goal is to stop them from shooting each other. When I arrived in Chamelecón I literally was burying a kid a week.

Caminando por la paz is an integrated, educational training program that helps street kids turn their lives around. For five years Father Tom has used the program to build homes, provide schooling and job training, and help the people take back their streets from criminal gangs.  "When I first arrived here," says Father Tom, "the pressure was to be in the gang. It was the 'in thing'. Now, it's the 'in thing' to be in school. We've had a whole change in street culture."

Honduras: Thousands of Street Children

Prensa Latina, Feb 7, 2006

[accessed 23 May 2011]

The non governmental organization Casa Alianza calculates in 10,000 the street children in Honduras who are exposed th numerous risks.  The NGO says the children survive begging at traffic lights, are disconnected from education, undernourished, vulnerable to numerous diseases, homeless and are daily victims of violence.  Casa Alianza Director Jose Manuel Capellin, said they work with neglected children, adding that the murder of 1,000 of these children in the past four years remain unpunished.

Death Stalks Street Children - Police, agents blamed for Honduras killings

Freddy Cuevas, The Associated Press AP, Tegucigalpa, August 17, 2001

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

[accessed 23 May 2011]

Casa Alianza has reported that 843 children were killed between January 1998 and June 2001. It attributed 7 percent of those slayings to police, 1 percent to security agents, 19 percent to individuals and 13 percent to juvenile gangs. The cause of others was uncertain.

New Report Calls For Action On Killings Of Street Children’s Rights

Amnesty International, 25 February 2003

[accessed 23 May 2011]

[accessed 5 December 2016]

Most of the victims come from the most marginalised sectors of society, among them the so-called "street children" and gang members. The perpetrators are, in most cases, unidentified persons, although testimonies from survivors and witnesses indicate that they could be police officers or civilians acting with the implicit consent of the authorities.

Report on the Torture of Street Children in Guatemala and Honduras 1990 - 1997 

Bruce Harris, Casa Alianza/Covenant House, Costa Rica, 1997 -- ISBN 10: 9968983438 / ISBN 13: 9789968983433

[accessed 23 May 2011]

[accessed 5 December 2016]

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]

ARBITRARY OR UNLAWFUL DEPRIVATION OF LIFE - The media reported that based on information from government sources, vigilante activities allegedly led to more than 970 killings in the last 7 years of known and suspected criminals, as well as gang members, street children, and youth not known to be involved in criminal activity (see section 5). Approximately 80 persons have been arrested over the past 7 years in connection with such killings, with 9 of those convicted by year's end.

CHILDREN - The government was unable to improve the living conditions or reduce the numbers of street children and youth. The government and children's rights organizations estimated that during the year there were 20 thousand street children, half of whom had shelter. Many street children were sexually molested or exploited. The Tegucigalpa city administration operated 12 temporary shelters with a total capacity of 240 children. The NGO Casa Alianza operated 3 shelters for 160 children, 1 for victims of commercial sexual exploitation, 1 for street children, and 1 for children with substance abuse problems.

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]

[33] The Committee also expresses its concern about the situation of children who, because of serious situations of extreme poverty as well as of situations of abandonment or violence within the family, are forced to live in and/or work on the streets and are therefore vulnerable to different forms of exploitation and abuse, including sale, trafficking and abduction. The rising number of youth gangs (known in Honduras as maras) is also an area of concern. In this regard, while the Committee takes note of the State party's plans to implement a specific strategy to address the issue of street children, it recommends to the State party to continue working in cooperation with non-governmental organizations in this area and to adopt appropriate programs and policies for the protection and rehabilitation of these children and the prevention of this phenomenon. Special attention in the form of preventive and rehabilitation measures should be given to the rising number of youth gangs.

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