A leading human rights group has said that transgender women who work as sex workers in Honduras are frequently attacked by clients or police officers.

Three trans women have been killed in the last three months while working in the area of Comayagüela, near Palmira.

Amnesty International has highlighted another case of police brutality against an HIV positive trans sex worker who refused to give them money.

They subsequently threatened her with death if she reported the incident.

Four police officers in a police car approached the transgender woman, who has asked Amnesty International to withhold her name, at about 12.40am on 20 December 2008 in the Palmira district of the capital, Tegucigalpa. They beat her, took her to the station and threatened her life if she complained. 

Last week New-York based Human Rights Watch called on the authorities in the central American nation to fully investigate the murder of Cynthia Nicole.

HRW said her murder on January 9th was the latest attack on the trans community.

On October 30th, an attacker killed Yasmin, a transgender sex worker and colleague of Nicole.

The next day an attacker shot Bibi, another transgender sex worker, while she was working in the Obelisco, a park in the centre of Comayaguela.

On December 17th, an attacker stabbed Noelia, a third transgender sex worker, 14 times.

Amnesty has called on the Attorney General to order swift, full and impartial investigations and bring those responsible to justice and called on the Honduran government to condemn violence against transgender people.

In March 2008 the US State Department said of Honduras:

“There are no discriminatory laws based on sexual orientation, but in practice social discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation was widespread.

“Representatives of sexual diversity rights NGOs asserted that their members were killed, beaten, and subjected to other mistreatment by security authorities.

“In cases where lesbians, gays, and transgender persons were found dead, the prosecutor often encountered serious difficulties because the victims had either concealed their identity or sexual orientation or, in many cases, were hiding from their families.

“Criminal investigations were categorised by female or male gender but did not recognise a “transgender person” category.

“Sexual diversity rights groups asserted that security forces, government agencies, and private employers engaged in anti-gay discriminatory hiring practices.

“These groups also reported intimidation, fear of reprisal, and police corruption made gay and lesbian victims of abuse reluctant to file charges or proceed with prosecutions.

“The government required, as a condition for legal registration, sexual diversity rights organisations to remove any reference in their bylaws to promotion of respect for the rights of gay, lesbian, or transgender persons.”