The Absent and Those Left Behind: Researching Missing Honduran Migrants and Their Families
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Every day Hondurans leave their country to migrate to the U.S. Most of them do so undocumented, risking their lives on the journey. Some reach the U.S., many are deported after being picked up by either the Mexican or the U.S. authorities. This thesis focuses on a little acknowledged third group, those who go missing on the trip, and their families, who are left worrying and wondering what has happened. It looks at the cases of four missing migrants in the area of El Progreso, in north-western Honduras, considering what is at the root of their decision to migrate, what is suspected to have happened to them, how the situation is affecting their families and what the latter do to find them. It also examines the support they receive. These families are affiliated with a self-help committee founded with the aim of finding out what has happened. In the process of doing so, the committee has not only been able to locate some of those missing and put the topic on the public and political agenda in Honduras, its most active members have become empowered in political and human-rights issues and gained a previously unknown confidence in their own abilities.