Sarah is a 17-year-old teenager who was forced through threats, blackmail and intimidation to provide sexual services for two years and who represents how human trafficking networks work in Honduras
TEGUSIGALPA, HONDURAS.- “I was supposed to talk to a woman who met me at a place and when I got there I was expecting to see a woman when suddenly a man comes, he comes in a car and I get in with him…”
Sarah – fictitious name – confidently went to the place where she was called by an imaginary employer who would offer her a job with excellent pay and decent conditions.
The surprise of the then 15-year-old woman was to see a man instead of the woman with whom she had agreed. “He tells me it comes from these people.”
Up until this point, Sarah is unaware of the dark intentions until the man convinces her to go to a hotel room with dark intentions.
Desperate to get the supposed job, he accepted. “He takes me to take a picture with him…after the picture we have sex.”
That’s how young Sarah remembers the first day she was forced to raise a toast sexual services for strangers. That day was just the beginning of a long episode as a victim of the crime of human trafficking.
The crime of human trafficking is characterized by the act of recruiting, transferring, harboring and receiving persons, resorting to deception, fraud and abuse of power in order to obtain payment for the person.
The EL HERALDO Plus Research and Data Department He listened to the testimony of the now 17-year-old girl, who told how, because of her desire to find a job, she agreed to have sex with a stranger, who later, under threats, blackmail and intimidation, forced her to be a sex slave.
With a look filled with sadness, the young woman dared to recall the nightmare she experienced from the first day to the last, when she was finally able to leave this trafficking and sexual exploitation organization.
The young woman joins the long list of women victims of this crime in Honduras. According to data provided by the Ministry of State (MoS), through the request for public information, from 2005 to August 2022 there were registered 876 complaints for human trafficking in the country.
In this record, 2019 stands out, when the most alerts were received – 133, followed by 2018 with 129.
Interesting: Few efforts to combat human trafficking in Honduras
After the sexual intercourse, the man no longer communicates with her, apparently the deal was forgotten, her surprise was when three days later she received a call from him and offered her the promised job, but it was not what she expected.
“He offered me a job that consisted of having sex with men, and if I didn’t agree, he was going to spread the photos he took of me on social media.”
Under this threat and fearing that the man would spread the intimate photos with his friends and family, Sarah had no choice but to give in to the offer.
“He loaded up 1000 lempires for an hour with me (to the clients) and from that he said to give me 500 lempires or 1000 lempireswell that’s what he gave me from them too 1000 lempires I had to use them in my image, in my personal presentation”, he recalls.
The crime of human trafficking continues to be very prevalent in the country and so far in 2022, the Ministry of Public Rights has reported 47 complaints. And in 2020, the lowest incidence was recorded, because due to the mandatory detention caused by covid-19 pandemicthe number of complaints decreased significantly and reached 47 during the year.
Girls and adolescents, victims of trafficking
Over time, Sarah could not even enjoy the supposed profits to her taste, because she was required to meet a number of beauty standards in order to attract more customers.
She had to invest in her personal image such as provocative clothes, exotic make-up, extravagant hairstyles and even going to the gym to maintain a slim figure.
The imposed guidance was completed by uploading photos on Facebook and thereby attracting the attention of men who subsequently pay for their sexual services.
Sarah was fifteen years old at the time. Just like her, the majority of human trafficking victims in Honduras are between the ages of 10 and 19, as the state department registered 238 complaints in that range, according to information she had access to. HERALD Plus.
The above means that girls and boys account for 27% by almost all offended, that is, almost 3 out of 10.
Next is the range from 20 to 29, where 56 cases were reported, that is, 6.4 percent of those affected.
This newspaper found that out of 876 complaints since 2012, only 42 cases presented tax demands from 2017 to 2022.
Also read: 14 minors per month are victims of human trafficking in Honduras
Young girls with some innocence who decide to change cities to find a job that provides them with stability and thus relieves their needs, this is the profile of girls who are kidnapped by trafficking organizations. Sarah is the best example.
Once you enter a room, Sarah continues, there is no security of any kind. In the service, young women are left at the mercy of what the man wants to do to them, and the owner of the trafficking organization ensures it.
“Personally, I’ve never had, never had a client hit me or force me to do anything that wasn’t already discussed, but I know of cases of battered girls where they were forced to do sexual intercourse without condoms,” he said.
Most of the issued tax requirements are concentrated in the departments of Cutswith 12 cases, and Francisco Morazan (9).
After two long years of being bullied, Sarah braced herself and decided to tell the bully that she was leaving the organization. He recalls that he initially took the news with apparent calm, but three days later he and three people he trusted inflicted a brutal beating.
“I went out to the gate and he was there with his right hand and another girl and she pulled my clothes and I fell to the ground, then between them the three, the two girls who were with him, started beating me.”
This was the consequence Sarah paid for wanting to be free and finally leave this world that stole the best years of her life. “The only thing I did then was put myself in the fetal position, I remember si, and he started recording on his cell phone and then they told me that even if I filed the complaint, well, he was going to show me that he didn’t hit me.”
Days after the attack, he decided to seek help and went to the police to report the incident. There she was referred to the prosecutor, who informed her that she was a victim of the crime of human trafficking.
“For the first time I dare to tell an outsider everything that has happened to me all this time. It was the first time she heard about human trafficking and that she was one of hundreds of victims. For the first time, I “realize that it is a serious crime.”
Despite the large number of complaints received by the State Department about the crime of trafficking, the Supreme Court has handed down few convictions.
For example, in the last three years in Honduras, there were 17 convictions for the crime of human trafficking, 11 convictions and 6 overturned, all victims were women and all defendants were men.
The law against human trafficking in Honduras was published in Official Gazette Gazette on July 6, 2012, which is aimed at preventing and punishing human trafficking at the national and transnational level and is supported by the Honduran constitution, the current Criminal Procedure Code and especially the Code for Children and Adolescents.
Meanwhile, the law establishes imprisonment from 10 to 15 yearsplus absolute disqualification for twice the duration of the challenge. Similarly, an increase in the sentence is provided when the victim is over 18 years old, when he is a relative of the victim in the second or third degree of consanguinity, when the victim suffers or is in a state of disability or pregnancy or when the act involves the complicity of three or more persons.
See also: How does it work? They capture a man who ran a sexual exploitation ring in La Ceiba
In addition to the law, the country is bound by the Convention to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, which complements the UN Convention against Transnational organized crimewhose purpose of its creation is to encourage cooperation between member countries to combat the phenomenon.
The text dictates that each associated state must ensure that its legal and administrative systems implement measures to prevent this crime, while providing assistance if it occurs.
In the same way, it refers to unimpeded repatriation, the implementation of educational, social and cultural programs with a view to preventing and protecting the crime of human trafficking.
Although Sarah’s nightmare is over, she admits that the memories of the nights she was subjected to intimate relations with strangers are still etched in her mind, and despite the complaint she filed against one, she is still afraid, that the owners of the traffic organization will return it.damage.
After filing the complaint with the Ministry of Public Law, this entity referred her to the Inter-Institutional Commission against Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking in Persons of Honduras (CICEST), where she and her family were given psychological help and little by little she was able to resumed his normal life. Although he admits that the process was not easy.
Interesting: 95% of victims of human trafficking are taken to Mexico and Guatemala