“The issue of childhood is the most unprotected in Honduras and it seems to me that no one cares about it, there are no immigration reforms from the state or from organizations that work with children, because many of them do not have financial support for this,” said Itzmania Platero
Tegucigalpa.- Honduran migrant children are victims of trafficking, drug trafficking, drug trafficking “mules” and multiple forms of violence. Others were abandoned at the border crossing, as reported by Honduran human rights defender Itzmania Platero.
Platero stated in Criterion.hn that Honduran children are trafficked for organs, drugs, weapons, and many are sold at the border and manipulated by profiteers who process them as “passport tickets” for passage into the United States, and these people later say that the children are their children, “these children are unfortunately used as cannon fodder”.
Platero warned that the number of Honduran migrant boys and girls will increase this year compared to 2021, given that many of them are threatened and recruited by criminal groups, which is why there are parents who take their children out from the country so that they are not victims of these criminal groups.
“The issue of childhood is the most unprotected in Honduras and it seems to me that no one cares about it, there are no immigration reforms from the state or from organizations that work with children, because many of them do not have financial support for this,” Platero complained.
He added that most of the children who migrate are the “children of the pandemic”, they all live in isolation and without access to a social life they cannot enjoy their childhood either. “Most of these children who migrate into the country are because they can no longer cope with the exclusion, the violence and much less the poverty that exists in their homes.”
For the human rights defender, children are the invisible victims of the state. He denounced that immigration authorities and the state know this, but do nothing because they simply do not care about thousands of children living in the open.
Platero estimates that at least 60,000 children have left the country since 2018, and that most of the girls and boys who migrate are victims of trafficking. He said that by 2021, approximately 400 minors cannot identify where their parents are in the United States, not counting those in captivity and slavery in Mexican territory, and that despite all this, the state of Honduras continues to not nothing.
According to Platero, the change of government does not bring better expectations for children, “we don’t even listen to them in the speeches of the presidents, they have never been interested in children’s issues, Honduras has no domestic programs for these children, There is no campaign aimed at helping children to experience a dignified childhood, when the state is obliged to protect them and guarantee the rights of these children.
Data from the National Institute of Migration (INM) shows that of the total number of returned migrant minors from September 2014 to August 31 this year, a total of 134,869 minors were returned, with a total of 41,871 girls and 92,998 boys.
The Executive Director of the Coordination Network of Private Institutions for Children, Adolescents, Youth and Their Rights (COIPRODEN), Wilmer Vasquez, who informed Criterion.hn that there are approximately 12,528 girls and boys who have been deported so far this year, surpassing last year’s figures which ended with 12,194, meaning there is a 60% increase.
Vasquez added that from 2014 until today, more than 100,000 boys and girls have been deported to the country.
“It comes to our attention that, based on their origins, 8,015 Honduran boys and girls have been deported from the United States, 4,091 from Mexico and 123 from Guatemala so far this year. The most worrying thing for us is that 3,433 of all these children were traveling alone, the same can be the case of street children”.
Data updated to August by the Directorate for Children, Adolescents and the Family (DINAF), returned migrant children who were assisted in 2022 totaled 11,729, with 44% girls and 56% boys, out of these 8,515 traveled with a companion and 3,214 traveled alone along the migration route in search of a better quality of life.
Dinaf estimates that, according to their age cycle, there are 5,845, in infancy, 2,448, and in adolescence, 3,436 returning Honduran children.
For her part, Dinaf director Dulce Maria Villanueva said Criterion.hnthat the migration of children from Honduras has as its main factor the reunification of these children with their parents who also had to migrate, this is followed by the forced displacement that has increased in recent days, the lack of opportunities, the lack of work and poverty They are one of the reasons that encourage migration.
Villanueva added that in conversations with immigration authorities in Honduras, they found that at the Mexican border, minors who are victims of drug trafficking take second place, now the majority of boys and girls are victims of the crime of human trafficking.
“This government has started, but we hope that from next year these levels of migrant children will start to decrease,” Villanueva added.
The head of Dinaf confirmed that many of the returned children were raped, robbed at the border and suffered many vicissitudes, “the most unfortunate thing is that many of these children do not know who to turn to here in Honduras, they do not even know where to file a complaint”.
Another IOM report titled Migration Trends in Central America, North America and the Caribbean, published in June this year, which recorded migrant events, presented and channeled, 2021-2022 (January-April) saw a 70% increase compared to January by April 2021 with 8,983 boys representing 34.4% and 6,588 girls representing 25.2%.
This report also gave an alarming figure, 98% of minors traveling irregularly were unaccompanied for 2 years in both 2021 and 2022.