Santa Rosa de Copán is a city of over 70,000 people located in north western region of Honduras
It’s a major commercial centre where tobacco products, leather and clothing are produced. Santa Rosa de Copán is a transportation hub with highways leading towards cities in Honduras and El Salvador. While this infrastructure is good for economic development, it also means that the region is a major transit route for all kinds of illegal activities that put children and young people at risk. For example: cocaine smugglers work in the region and human traffickers prey on women and girls.
Since 2006, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Santa Rosa de Copán.
In 2018, Copán had the highest number of incidents of human trafficking in Honduras.
Young people are at risk of being exploited. The age at which children are first victimised by sex traffickers is between 13 and 15. The majority is deceived by their closest and most trusted peers, including parents, family members and friends. Women and girls are told they will be doing domestic work or modelling, but end up in dangerous exploitative conditions. Others are invited to their friend’s house and are then trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation against their will.
Santa Rosa de Copán can be a very dangerous city for children and young people to grow up in. They need a safe place to be themselves, and they need to be given possibilities that will let them live a life without crime.
While 36% of people are forced into crime by a gang member, the same number is forced into crime by their friends. The majority are forced to commit crime in their local community. 76% are threatened with physical violence or death threats if they don’t comply. With 80% of cocaine in Honduras entering Guatemala through Copán, the most common type of forced crime is selling drugs. Other crimes include committing robberies and smuggling drugs.