Mari has worked as a cleaning woman her whole life, jumping from contract to contract, and feels that every time she changes companies, her conditions get worse. After six months in this new job, the lateness of the paycheck worries her. But she doesn’t even think of looking for other work. “At my age, no one wants to give me work,” she says, looking down at her hands.

Every afternoon at 5pm, Suyapa puts on the same threadbare uniform that she bought two and a half years ago (she can’t afford the $20 they would charge her to replace it). She puts on the shoes that are cracked and ruined. She readies her things and steps onto the bus, hoping that today will be the day that she’s paid what she’s owed, but read to come home again with empty hands. 

Érika works 71 hours per week. Last month she took home $208. “It’s hard sometimes,” she says, “but there really isn’t any other choice."

Cleaning and security companies in Honduras are notorious for not respecting the rights of their workers. Despite contracts with major state institutions, most get away with paying their workers less than the legal minimum wage, and working them as many as 96 hours per week without any extra pay or overtime. AJS has put together a study of the current state of security guards and cleaning women in state institutions in Honduras, pressuring the government to guarantee the labor rights of these workers.

If you go to live in other lands,
Tell them truly what happens here.
Tell them that hatred and misery
Have not been able to bring us to our knees.

In Honduras, violent crimes often go unreported because of fear of retaliation, because of a lack of trust in the judicial system, but also because the system is complicated, intimidating, and difficult to understand. Security 101 teaches leaders of civil society both how to reduce their risks for crime and what to do if crimes do happen. They are taught to navigate the current judicial system, but also to observe it and mobilize people to pressure the government to be more effective.

omar rivera with a graduate of the security 101 training

In this complex and dangerous context enters AJS’s Peace and Justice Project. They reach out to the families of homicide victims and offer a listening ear, as well as help filing a police report, facilitating investigation, and accompanying witnesses through the process of giving testimony. It is this personal interaction that can make the difference between a conviction, and another murderer let to go free.

One way in which AJS is helping to make the Honduran judicial system work is by advocating for better attention to victims and witnesses of crimes. These rooms, called “Gesell Chambers”, allow victims of sensitive crimes like interfamily violence, sexual abuse, or sexual assault to give their testimony before a court – without the fear, shame, and anxiety of appearing in a courthouse. That results in better testimony and more convictions!

gesell chamber

Over ten thousand Hondurans packed into the national stadium on the National Day of the Bible to pray for their country. You, too, can join this prayer network by signing up here.

individuals hold hands as they pray for their country

DONATE
TODAY

Your generous donation will support work for justice in Honduras

Subscribe to Email Updates

Hear the stories. Learn the opportunities. Connect to the Justice Movement. We promise to keep you informed but not overwhelmed.

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Support our Work

The New York Times published an opinion piece by Sonia Nazario, Pulitzer Prize winning author and also our good friend, about the problems facing Honduras. For those of us who love Honduras, it is not an easy read - but we have seen change and we remain hopeful.