The sex trafficking of indigenous children is on the increase in Honduras

Most of victims are between 12 and 15 years old

Tegucigalpa, Honduras – Non-governmental organizations that work against child sexual exploitation in Mexico have denounced the fact that the sex trafficking of underage girls from Honduras into Mexico is on the increase.

Ana Elena Barrios of the organization Networking, Communication and Training noted that most of the girls who are being victimized are between the ages of 12 and 15 years. They are typically taken to city of Tapachula in Mexico’s southern border state of Chiapas.

Barrios warned that “this is one of the largest centers of prostitution in the world.” She added that the enslavement of minor indigenous girls from Guatemala and El Salvador to Mexico is also increasing.

Barrios is the co-author of "The South, the Beginning of a Journey", which investigates the state of human rights of Central American migrants. She revealed that traffickers have now developed new, more isolated routes for human trafficking that are located in the Mesilla area in the Comapala region of the Mexican Border in Chiapas state.

This rising phenomenon is being ignored by Mexico’s government due to racial and gender discrimination, according to América Martínez of the Association for Integral Development, which provides health services to those in prostitution and works against human trafficking.

This is how trafficking works

Those who work as traffickers may be migrant men who now who work as ‘trappers,’ or other anonymous men who scheme to get [indigenous] parents drunk. These traffickers target girls as young as age 8, according to research.

"The men who seek out sex with these underage girls are obviously much more violent, because their actions are an absolute expression of power, when the girl has no option available to defend herself – not even to use a condom,” lamented América Martínez.

Another tricks used by these "recruiters" is to pretend to fall in love with the victim and then promise to marry her, or to offer the girl a false employment opportunity outside of her community.

These girls end up in brothels in the region, face labor slavery or have their human organs taken from them. They are taken to states within Mexico or to the United States.

Teresa Ulloa, president of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls for Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW), notes that the increase of this crime is also due to "the arrival of organized crime in indigenous communities" and is also a byproduct of Mexico’s failed strategy against drug trafficking.

In Ulloa’s view, the drug cartels recently discovered that the sex trafficking of girls in general was profitable, "because nobody pays attention [to their plight],”  and because the drug traffickers have begun to recruit [large numbers of youth] to work are street hawkers, assassins, sex slaves and drug mules. All of those activities constitute trafficking, because at the end of the day they are using these minors to protect their businesses."

Ulloa equally blamed the rise in child trafficking on the State's strategy against drug trafficking. “Generally, we see an increase in trafficking, more violations of women’s rights, more consumption of prostitution and more femicide [gender based murders] in areas where anti-drug operations are taking place.”