Source: Kingston Whig-Standard (Ontario, Canada)
Contact:  Fri, 24 Jul 1998
Author: Adrienne Tanner


A Province report on Honduran children being smuggled to Canada and forced
to deal drugs made headlines in Central America.

As a result, a well-known agency that helps street kids in Central America
sent out an appeal yesterday to Honduran parents whose children are in

Casa Alianza director Bruce Harris said he put out a message through the
media warning parents their children are in danger.

``The mules in this drug process are disposable kids,'' he said from his
headquarters in Costa Rica.

Police estimate about 100 children have been lured from Honduras to
Vancouver by a professional drug ring.

Most Honduran parents don't realize that when their children come to Canada
they will end up working as indentured drug pushers in exchange for food
and shelter.

Some parents even encourage their kids to go north, Harris said. ``The
families think they've gone up for a good job.''

Good jobs are virtually non-existent in Honduras, where over half the
population is under 18 and 75 per cent live in extreme poverty.

``You're talking about a country that is desperate.''

Harris is hopeful that families will contact his organization with names
when they find out how their children are making money.

Meanwhile, Casa Alianza's Vancouver counterpart Covenant House, will try to
make contact with the children.

Covenant House executive director Sandy Cooke said he plans to distribute a
pamphlet written in Spanish to let children know there is a Casa Alianza
safe house in Vancouver.

``Most of them would know of Casa Alianza,'' Cooke said.

He and Harris also are considering bringing in a Honduran social worker to
reach out to the children, who are reluctant to talk even to local youth

``We want to make sure we don't spook them.''

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Checked-by: (Joel W. Johnson)