Quoted in Global Sisters Report by David Agree on 2 August 2018

Agren, David. 2018. Seeking Refuge: For Hondurans, staying home is more perilous than taking the migrant path. Global Sisters Report 2 August. <https://www.globalsistersreport.org/news/migration/seeking-refuge-hondurans-staying-home-more-perilous-taking-migrant-path-55228&gt;.

No northern triangle country does especially well in attending to people who live in poverty or returned migrants, said Elizabeth Kennedy, a social science researcher in Tegucigalpa. But in Honduras, “this is close to a corporate state. They don’t provide services for their citizens and they even talk about farming out the services — and do so with great pride.”

Kennedy’s previous research of children fleeing neighboring El Salvador published in 2014 showed violence was a factor in the majority of migration cases.

“Violence in these three [Central American] countries is targeted. It’s not generalized,” she said. “Seventy to 80 percent of homicides are someone being shot on their way to work, in their car, in their home, sleeping in their very bed … it’s clear then that person was targeted.”

Gangs control entire neighborhoods and enforce their own rules on the population, she said.

“Gangs prefer that one person from each of the [neighborhood] households is in some way associated with them … that lessens the likelihood they will be reported,” Kennedy said. “The gang believes that it is benevolently providing protection for its family, so of course you would pay them a small amount in return [extortion] for that.”

Additionally, “what’s in the neighborhood belongs to the gang,” she said gang leaders believe. “They feel that the girls and women in their neighborhood are their property and they have a right to use them. ‘You belong to us. You live here. You’re supposed to be part of us’ … that’s why [boys] can be forcibly recruited.”

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