Tonight there is major news coming out of Honduras saying that a woman was arrested for trafficking teen girls into Belize for prostitution.
A report in La Prensa, a Honduran newspaper, say that Denia Suyapa Ochoa was detained in San Pedro Sula during an operation called "Fire Storm".
Ochoa, who works in the Honduras Ministry of Health and according to the Protection of Women Agency, she would enlist young females - minors - who would be taken to San Pedro, AMBERGRIS CAYE to work at a brothel. That's where, the taproot says, these teenagers would be exploited sexually and forced to do work.
The report says she personally took girls to San Pedro Sula, where someone else would pick them up and transport them to Guatemala and then to Belize.
Now, on the local side of this story, CEO in the Ministry of Human Development Judith Alpuche says Belizean authorities were involved in the operation, and her arrest was as a result of cooperation between Belizean n Honduran authorities. But, Alpuche says they haven't found any trafficked teens - though they did find others. She says, quote, "We identified Honduran nationals who were not trafficking victims but had been smuggled in by her network." She continues, quote, "4 women, not teens came in through her network. During screening for human trafficking they were found to have information on the network and so they were handed over to Honduran authorities for them to go through their legal processes to effect the arrest.
The screening conducted on these 4 by Police did not deem them to be human trafficking victims." End quote.
Ochoa has been charged for human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation. In Honduras, the penalty for that crime is a prison sentence of not less than 20 years.
Woman In Honduras Arrested And Charged For Trafficking Young Girls To San Pedro Ambergris Caye
There are disturbing reports that a woman in Honduras was detained and arrested for trafficking teen girls into Belize for prostitution.
Reports in La Prensa, a Honduran newspaper, indicate that Denia Suyapa Ochoa was detained in San Pedro Sula during an operation by authorities called “Fire Storm X”. Ochoa was employed at the Department of Health and according to the Protection of Women Agency, she sought young females who would be taken to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye to work at a brothel. While there, the female juveniles would be exploited sexually and forced to do work.
Ochoa was charged for human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation. It is believed that she personally took girls to San Pedro Sula, where someone else would pick them up and transport them to Guatemala and then to Belize.
In Honduras, the penalty for human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation is a prison sentence of not less than 20 years.
The operation also involved collaboration with Belizean authorities. In fact, Belizean authorities have identified Honduran nationals who were smuggled in the illegal operation. Local authorities say their operations are continuous as the fight against human trafficking is a priority.
“Storm of Fire” nabs alleged Honduran human trafficker
Denia Suyapa Ochoa is accused of trafficking girls from Honduras, to Guatemala and then to San Pedro, Belize
Belize is making international news, but this time, unfortunately, for its link in a human trafficking ring based in Honduras.
Honduran news outlets are reporting that teenagers from that country have been trafficked to Guatemala and Belize, where they are sexually exploited and faced with forced labor.
In the case of Belize, the outlets are reporting that the women are taken to the island of San Pedro, where in many cases they are forced to serve as prostitutes in an undisclosed bar.
The future of the ring and the continuation of its operations are not yet known, as the woman believed to be the head of its operations has been jailed.
She is a Honduran national, Denia Suyapa Ochoa. She was arrested on Wednesday by Honduras’s Police Investigation Directorate (PDI) at her workplace at the Ministry of Health in the northern Honduran city of San Pedro Sula.
The operation that led to her arrest has been dubbed, “Storm of Fire,” or “Tormenta de Fuego.”
Investigations carried out by the Ombudsman’s Office for the Protection of Women in Honduras revealed that Ochoa was focused on “capturing the victims so they could work in a bar located on the island of San Pedro (Belize), where they were sexually exploited and forced to perform forced labor.”
Ochoa now faces charges of “trafficking in persons in the form of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation” and other charges for transporting her victims to San Pedro Sula from where they travelled to Guatemala, and then to Belize.
In Honduras, the penalties for human-trafficking related offences are upwards of 20 years in prison.
A very influential source on the island also spoke to Amandala tonight, indicating that in previous years there have been several bar raids to ensure that everyone’s immigration status was up to date.
However, to date, there have been no such raids, said our source, who claimed that the ratio of inhabitants to bars is 7:1.
According to our source, the San Pedro town council has not been proactive in addressing the matter, as they are understaffed and strapped for cash, so they focus more on collecting trade license fees and other fees from bars.
Our source further revealed that there have been many cases of human trafficking documented in San Pedro.
We could not reach the Mayor of San Pedro for a comment.
Educator and firm defender of women’s rights, Dr. Candice Pitts, tonight told Amandala that “Human trafficking is one of those atrocious violations against humanity, and unfortunately one of those violations that continues to find fertile grounds in Belize.”
She added, “In fact, Belize remains among the countries with the highest rates of human trafficking in the region, so much so that our greatest international partners are known to take aim at Belize for failing to aggressively combat this human rights violation.”
“The recent Honduran Denia Suyapa Ochoa’s human trafficking incident reveals to us that human trafficking is still very much a critical concern that permeates our society. But much like other social issues that affect mostly the marginalized among us, human trafficking is just one of those riddles that our government cannot seem to solve,” she further noted.