In El Salvador, ICCO promotes initiatives that economically empower youth in order to prevent violence. It also supports a project to stop violence against women, based on a network of women defenders and an innovative inter-institutional alert system that reports cases in real time.
Villa Fontana Sur, del Club Terraza, 2c al Oeste,
2c. al Sur, 75 vrs. al Oeste. #150.
El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in the Central American region. Its political history has been defined by a succession of authoritarian governments, coups and civil war (1979 - 1992), causing severe political and economic instability.
El Salvador has recently received international attention due to its high crime rates, specially gang related and juvenile delinquency. The country has one of the highest murder rates in the world and is the nucleus of the Central American “maras” (slang for gang) crisis, which extends to Honduras and Guatemala. This phenomenon is considered to be the result of massive deportations of Salvadorans involved in gangs operating in the United States in the 1990´s. The State has developed several programs to guide youth away from gangs, some of which have been criticized by the United Nations. Salvadorans are also victims of other gang related crimes such as abductions and extortions.
El Salvador has the highest rate of femicides (gender-motivated killing of women) in the world. They have increased from less than 200 reported cases in 2000, to over 600 cases in 2011. Moreover, reported cases of domestic violence increased from around 1,500 in 2000 to over 6,000 cases each year in 2009 and 2010.
Violence in El Salvador has caused an increase in migration, and has specially caused children and adolescents to seek entry into the United States, where there’s a large Salvadoran community. The number of unaccompanied minors crossing the United States-Mexico border increased in 90% between 2013 and 2014. This event drew international media attention and became known as the 2014 American Migration Crisis.
Due to El Salvador´s alarming crime rates, ICCO´s work is focused on promoting strategies to prevent and tackle violence. We support young men and women in conflict with the law by financing socio-educational reintegration programs. We also work to prevent violence by economically empowering youth with trainings on entrepreneurism and by providing capital to start small businesses. ICCO works with a women’s rights organization in an innovative strategy to prevent and stop violence against women by using a cutting edge alert system. We´ve also developed strong links with the private sector by promoting application of international guiding principles on business and human rights.