Honduras: Safe Haven for Human Trafficking Victims

Posted on July 21, 2010

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Belizehands

Honduras is known for many things, but it should be known for one of its greatest virtues:?? it is a key station on the underground railroad?? ??? a hidden system that transports girls and women who have been hunted and recovered from Belize human trafficking.

Over the years, our organization has developed a string of Honduran safe havens for girls and women who have been hunted and recovered from their human trafficking nightmare. So many of them would not have wound up in that nightmare if it were not so easy for traffickers to access the Belize human trafficking superhighway.???? Honduras does not provide nearly the easy access enjoyed by traffickers in Belize.

At the heart of this network of welcoming Honduran homes is a great cultural value:?? ficha bars, i.e., establishments that distinguish themselves by offering human trafficking victims in forced prostitution, are not tolerated.?? There are no human trafficking hubs and ficha bar concentrations in Honduras.?? Not like Belize with its San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, a bonanza for those profiting from human trafficking.??

Why is Honduras different????? Easiest way to explain:?? Honduran women are a force to be reckoned with.??

Hondurans, particularly the women, are fiercely against men in their communities availing themselves of ficha bar entertainments.?? There are plenty of bars, yes.?? But there is a code among Hondurans that we have come to admire and respect:?? no bars offering trafficked women in our backyard, thanks.???? In many ways it reflects the warmth and compassion that runs through this part of Central America.

It???s the reason that our organization has been able to come back to Honduras time and again with victims we???ve rescued from the Belize human trafficking industry.?? And, most important, it is in Honduras where we find the most help for human trafficking victims:?? shelter and recovery from their ordeal.?? Almost all of them have been stolen from their families and trapped in a sordid world where they have been made to endure forced sex in hellhole bars night after night.????

Senora Paz is one of the stars of the underground railroad.?? She offers her home to recovered victims, sometimes as many as eight at a time.?? She understands that these are wounded women in need of healing and focus.?? Food and lodging are offered, yes.?? But Senora Paz also counsels wisely, telling victims they are not to blame for what has happened to them.?? So many do.?? It???s a long recovery process that starts with a feeling of safety.?? Senora Paz and her safe haven counterparts across the country are exceptional people, but they reflect the standard of kindness that we have come to expect in Honduras.??

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