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Gender-Focused Violence in the Northern Triangle Puts Women and Children on Massive Exodus

LADB Article ID: 79854
Category/Department: Region
Date: 2016-01-07
By: George Rodríguez

In addition to its more visible components-–gangs, organized crime networks, and political targets–-violence in Central America’s northernmost territory has a less visible, yet highly critical, ingredient: gender-based aggression. Increasing attacks on women, either as main or collateral victims, and a rise in femicides are leading a growing number of women and children to flee from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, the three sides of the violent Central American Northern Triangle. By the thousands, and usually in the hands of criminal networks that engage in human trafficking, they are looking for safety in other Central American nations, Mexico (although women are also escaping the violence that is affecting several Mexican regions), or the United States. Applications for asylum by women from the triangle have skyrocketed in these destinations, according to a recent study by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) entitled “Women on the Run. First-hand accounts of refugees fleeing El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico.”

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