By Marcos González
More than 4,700 children and young people belong to gangs in Honduras. Social exclusion and lack of opportunities are some of the factors that drive them to join these dangerous groups.
This is one of the conclusions of the report ‘Status of Gangs in Honduras’, which was released earlier this month by the National Programme of Prevention, Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration (PNPRRS), with support from UNICEF.
Reaching at-risk youth
Gangs have specialized in drug trafficking, kidnappings, killings and extortion; they are responsible for much of the violence and insecurity present in Honduras. According to the latest report of the Observatory of Violence, the country recorded 20 violent deaths every day. According to the United Nations 'Global Study on Homicides', Honduras has the highest homicide rate in the world, at 82.1 killings per 100,000 inhabitants.
The study calls for new strategies to meet the needs of the populations most at risk of joining gangs: vulnerable children and young people, orphans and those without access to public services.
It affirms the need to prioritize preventive social work in the most troubled areas of the country as well as the need to invest in education and employability. It also supports the importance of rehabilitation programmes in prison for former gang members who want to re-join society.
Read more here.