A core feature of the tales told by many asylum-seekers is that criminal gangs tried to force them to join. The sought-after gang member thus fled from Honduras, for example, and couldn’t find safety in Guatemala, Belize, or Mexico (since the gangs are multinational and sufficiently organized to hunt down potential labor across borders?). Thus the former Honduran finds him or herself, along with some children, living in Texas (maybe soon in San Francisco or Oakland?), collecting welfare, and going through a multi-year asylum process.
I wonder if this shows that there is a labor shortage in Honduras. The population has grown from 1.5 million in 1950 to over 9 million today (Wikipedia). Yet criminal gangs cannot find volunteers to join in the activities and share in the profits. They are forced to recruit new members, whom they will be responsible for paying enough to afford housing, food, clothing, etc., at gunpoint. American criminal enterprises, on the other hand, get their employees by voluntary processes.
It seems reasonable to assume that a gang seeks only the minimum number of required members for its criminal goals (just as non-criminal employers try to avoid hiring surplus staff). A $1 million profit from dealing drugs, for example, isn’t so exciting if it has to be split among 1,000 members.
Can we infer from the above stories and assumptions that there is an acute labor shortage in Honduras compared to the U.S.? If not, why would gangs recruit members by force?