Sex trafficking in Central America 

By: Kayla Arellano

*Note, this article may have material that could trigger individuals (sexual assault, violence against women), therefore, we present a trigger warning here.

Human trafficking has been happening in Central America since 1990, and has been the center of attention in Guatemala, Honduras, and in El Salvador. Human trafficking in Central America has increased throughout the years due to gang violence and corruption in Latin American countries. Gang member seduce vulnerable young women into sex trafficking by promising them security, safety, and a better life in the U.S.; fake job offers; deceived into romantic relationships; coerced by older family members; approached by other victims; etc. 63% are underage, and 96% of the woman are from Mexico or Latin America.

The Polaris Project published a report, in 2016, showing how human trafficking happens in clubs, bars, cantinas, and strip clubs. They are smuggled to the United States without them knowing where they are being taken. When they arrive in the U.S., they take them into any of the previously mentioned places, and are forced to work as a cover for business transactions. has found research that labor trafficking, and sex trafficking, occurs in these places, and the employer will use fraud and force to maintain the workers and make them believe they have no choice but to keep on working.

The Polaris Project also had a case study where, in a cantina in Texas, inspectors noticed strange behavior in the female employees. It looked like they were being kept away from the inspectors and the woman showed fear towards the employers.

The employers had told the women that they were in enormous debt because they had been taken to the U.S., and that they would have to work at the place they were sent to, and would have to have sexual interactions with patrons every night. If any of the women resisted, there would be physical violence, sexual abuse, or harm to their families, so they had no choice but to work for them. 

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