Police, Gangs Behind Abuse of Honduras’ LGBTI Community

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The principal victimizers of Honduras’ LGBTI community are police and criminal gangs, according to a new report by local rights groups, highlighting how discrimination against minorities relates to the security dynamic.

A new report compiled by Honduras’ National AIDS Forum, LGBTI Rainbow Association, Amazonas Collective, and Progressio/Latina, which was presented August 21, identified the country’s police as responsible for the most cases of aggressions and rights violations against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community, reported EFE.

Members of organized crime groups and street gangs are also responsible for many aggressions against “sexually diverse populations,” according to the report, which identifies the homosexual and transgender population as the most affected by this violence.

One of the report’s researchers, Luz Marina Matute, told the media that criminal groups forced members of the community to sell drugs and perform sexual acts.

According to the report, 178 members of the LGBTI community have been murdered in Honduras since 2009.

InSight Crime Analysis

Although there are numerous positive signs that social attitudes toward the LGBTI population are changing in many parts of Latin America, much of the region remains deeply socially conservative, and the LGBTI community often faces serious discrimination and abuse. The rise of organized crime and violence appears to have made this worse.

In some cases, the effects of discrimination against the population can leave them particularly vulnerable to criminal groups. For example, higher percentages of the transgender community work in the sex trade because of prejudices of potential employers and other factors. This puts them in more direct contact with abusive criminals and in vulnerable situations.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Human Rights

In some countries, the LGBTI population has also been the target of “social cleansing” campaigns by illegal armed groups. However, the extent to which this is inspired by homophobia and prejudice versus being a more general expression of social control — in which other vulnerable social groups such as sex workers and drug users are also often singled out — can often be difficult to determine with any certainty.

Perhaps of greater concern is the violation of LGBTI rights by police, not only because of the abuse the community suffers, but also because if the authorities are victimizers it leaves the community with no place to turn to denounce violations of their rights.

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