HomeNewsBriefGang Violence and Extortion Make Taxi Driving High Risk in Honduras
BRIEF

Gang Violence and Extortion Make Taxi Driving High Risk in Honduras

EXTORTION / 11 MAR 2014 BY SETH ROBBINS EN

Driving a taxi has become one of the most dangerous professions in Honduras, where the public transport sector is under constant threat from gang extortion and violence.

In the past two years, 153 taxi drivers were murdered and 17 others wounded in violent confrontations, while 32 passengers were also killed, according to Honduras’ National Human Rights Commission (CONADEH).

In some of the most disturbing cases, detailed by El Heraldo, a dozen taxi drivers were kidnapped and then killed, a driver was murdered in front of his children, and another was shot dead by a 15-year-old as he waited to pick up passengers.

According to CONADEH, one of the principal dangers taxi drivers face on a daily basis is extortion by gangs, with other taxi drivers and police also possibly involved. The Associated Press described one case in which a 68-year-old driver was shot and killed by a youth thought to be linked to the Barrio 18 gang, after the driver's collective went to the police because they were unable to pay the $1,000 extortion fee demanded of them.

InSight Crime Analysis

The problem is not limited to taxi drivers: extortion in the public transport sector is a huge problem in Honduras, particularly in the cities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, where criminal groups are estimated to make over $27 million a year through so-called "war taxes." Extortion is now so bad in Tegucigalpa that various bus routes have been suspended, reported Proceso.

Taxi extortion is a threat throughout the "Northern Triangle" region -- Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador -- leading whole taxi fleets to use unmarked cars and prohibit drivers from entering certain neighborhoods. Salvadoran newspaper El Diario de Hoy recently published a list of ten places in the greater San Salvador area where taxi drivers refuse to go.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Extortion

Both El Salvador and Honduras are attempting to address bus extortion, with Salvadoran authorities equipping some new vehicles with security features such as global-positioning systems and panic buttons, and using card readers in place of cash.

However, there has been little in the way of solutions regarding taxis, whose drivers often complain that police are non-existent in gang-controlled areas, and who fear going to potentially corrupt authorities to report the crime. The result is an impunity rate of around 95 percent for murders of taxi drivers in 2012 and 2013, according to CONADEH.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BELIZE / 2 JUN 2022

Since El Salvador's government began a campaign of mass arrests two months ago in a gang crackdown, fewer than 60…

ELITES AND CRIME / 15 FEB 2021

The violent death of nursing student Keyla Patricia Martínez Rodríguez while in police custody in Honduras recalls the worst accusations…

HONDURAS / 15 FEB 2021

Honduras, long one of the poorest countries in Latin America, is now also among the most violent and crime-ridden. The…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…