Former Stoke City midfielder Wilson Palacios has revealed how losing his younger brother to armed kidnappers made him determined to tackle gang culture and end kidnapping.
Palacios was playing for Birmingham City in 2007 when his younger brother Edwin was abducted from his family house in Honduras by an armed gang before he was found dead a 19 months later.
“My brother was taken away from us by one of these gangs, they wanted money, so we paid the ransom, but he never came back to us.
“It was devastating. It changed my life and made me think I didn’t want any other children to go through the same things,” Palacios told Daily Star.
In January 2009, his mother made a televised appeal for the kidnappers to open talk with the family, to finding out if Edwin was still alive. She fears that Palacios’ big-money switch to Tottenham would strengthen the kidnappers’ demands.
Since the unfortunate event, the former released Miami midfielder has worked assiduously to prevent and combat gang crime, including his latest pet project alongside coffee brand Kenco.
The project named ‘Coffee vs. Gangs’ seeks to help 20 youngsters who are at risk of joining evil gangs by providing them the opportunity to become coffee entrepreneurs via education and training.
Research shows that Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world with a record on an average of 20 killings per day, while, gang violence, drug trafficking, and poverty are also widespread.
“After the kidnapping, I wanted to quit football. But I realized that my brother would have loved to see me continue my football career. He loved football. So as a family we decided that I should continue,” reveals Palacios.
The 32-year-old named his son Edwin to preserve the memory of his departed brother.