Tela is a port city located on the northern Caribbean coast of Honduras. The region is one of the most popular holiday resorts on the north coast of Honduras.
However, just like in other parts of Honduras, poverty, crime and gangs are part of everyday life for many children, young people and families living in Tela. In 2022, Honduras was still Central America’s most deadly country.
Children are at risk of violence and exploitation. Although the Honduran government has implemented a number of projects to help vulnerable children in Northern Honduras, there is still great need for further support.
Since 1977, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Tela.
Violence and crime flourish in poverty-stricken areas like Tela and its surroundings. In many cases young men turn to crime or join gangs – many do not see an alternative future that is free from violence.
Vulnerable children in the region are often groomed by the gangs. They start off with small gifts and attention in return for their involvement in a gang related crime.
Boys as young as six are recruited as lookouts, making deliveries or collecting extortion money. Girls as young as eight are sexually exploited
Around 16% of women have experienced sexual violence before they turned 18 years old. In fact, the average age when girls experience such incidents was 13 years old.
Although the prevalence of sexual exploitation is higher among women, men are subjected sexual violence too. While girls experience their first sexual incident at the age of 13, young men are more likely to experience it at a later age of 16-17. The most common first perpetrator for 18-24 year old women was a family member (46%). However, for 18-24 year old men it was a friend (44%).