Central America: Reports Find High Rates of Gang Violence and Violence against Women and Children in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala
Saturday, May 6, 2017 12:55 PM

A new report from the organization Kids in Need of Defense documents the “staggering” rates of murder, gang violence and violence against women and girls in Central America, particularly El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala (the “Northern Triangle”). The report found that criminal gangs in these countries have grown “increasingly powerful” in recent years and that they employ “brutal forms of violence to maintain control over the territories where they operate.” The violence, including rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, human trafficking and femicide, “has a particularly severe impact on women and children,” who generally receive no help or protection from their governments or law enforcement. The report found that the intensity of the recent violence and the inability of the state to hold perpetrators accountable were key drivers forcing women and children to flee Central America and migrate to Mexico or the US.

A related report from the Atlantic Council on the Northern Triangle also highlighted the destabilizing and corrupting influence of gang violence and criminal trafficking in Central America, noting that women and girls in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala “face levels of violence unseen in neighboring countries.”

“Neither Security nor Justice: Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Gang Violence in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala” is available on the Kids in Need of Defense website. “Building a Better Future: A Blueprint for Central America’s Northern Triangle,” is available for download from the Atlantic Council’s website.

Compiled from: Gamboa, Suzanne, Sexual, Gender Violence Driving Central American Youths to Flee Their Countries, NBC News (May 5, 2017).