HONDURAS — Forced labor has spiked in Honduras as part of an ongoing labor war, with more than 9,000 people working in agriculture and fishing industries, according to labor rights group HIDDEN Figures.
The numbers were reported by the U.S.-based nonprofit group Hidduk Labor Network, which documented the situation.
“These figures show that forced labor is on the rise in Honduras,” HIDDINOS labor network’s coordinator in Honduras, Moya Sánchez, told Al Jazeera.
“We’re witnessing this trend, especially in the agricultural sector, and we are calling for the government to step up the efforts to address the problem.
This is the biggest labor problem in Honduras right now, and this is why we’re trying to get government to address it.”
HIDDNIK labor network reported that the number of people working outside of agriculture rose from 7,900 in 2013 to 9.5 million last year.
Sánchetz said that the increase was largely due to “a change in the economic situation in the country”.
She said that it was not just the increase in agriculture, but also “an increase in the number and the types of migrant workers who come to work in the fishing industry.”
Hiddínos labor network, a network of labor rights groups, estimates that more than 60,000 workers are working in the agriculture sector, but it did not say how many were migrants.
The group said that a large number of migrant farm workers are forced to work for little or no pay, including those who are children.
“Forced labor has increased dramatically, and now, we’re seeing a lot of children in the fields and we’re getting reports of parents who have no choice but to leave their children behind,” Sánclez said.
“If the government can’t deal with this problem, they can’t address it at the level of the government.”
The number of undocumented workers has also risen, Sáncles said.
She said the number had more than doubled since 2013, with a total of nearly 10 million workers, most of whom are in agricultural and fishing.
“There is a significant increase in forced labor in the sectors that are most affected by the labor force crisis,” Sancenas said.