Gang violence has plagued Honduras for many years and given it the reputation of being a very dangerous country. More than 4,700 children and youth belong to gangs in Honduras, according to a report by UNICEF in 2012. Gang violence in Honduras is the primary cause behind the nation’s high crime rates. Since 2010, Honduras has had one of the highest murder rates in the world, according to the U.S. Department of State.
The problem stems primarily from gang recruitment among the nation’s male youth. It is estimated that Honduran children begin joining gangs at as young as 11 years old, and are made to carry out much of the gang’s illegal grunt work. Gangs in Honduras operate largely out of schools, where they know they will have an unlimited supply of new members. Honduran gang presence in schools often causes children to drop out or stop attending, which contributes to the country’s low education standards and school completion rates.
Gangs in Honduras contribute to a vicious cycle of poverty and crime. Due to high violence and crime rates, children feel endangered and respond by joining gangs that further prolong the violence. ChildFund works to end this cycle by providing youths with vocational training and educational opportunities so that they can create safer, sustainable livelihoods. We provide training and professional development programs in areas such as auto repair, electrical engineering, clothing alteration and carpentry, where young people learn the skills they need to find work and support themselves as independent adults.
Along with these programs, we also work with youths in community engagement, helping them learn to champion children's rights and identify areas where change can be made, which will offer them the chance to make a lasting difference.