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Elena was 11 years old when a gang member in her home country, Honduras, told her to be his girlfriend.
BY Nicholas Kristof | PUBLICATION The NY Times
TAPACHULA, Mexico — Elena was 11 years old when a gang member in her home country, Honduras, told her to be his girlfriend.
“I had to say yes,” Elena, now 14, explained. “If I had said no, they would have killed my entire family.”
Elena knew the risks because one of her friends, Jenesis, was also asked to be a gang member’s girlfriend, and declined. Elena happened to see the aftermath, as Jenesis staggered naked and bleeding away from gang members.
“She had been raped and shot in the stomach,” Elena recalled in the blank tone of a child who has seen far too much. She paused and then added: “We don’t know if she survived. Someone said she died at the hospital.”
LA PRENSA GRAFICA – Daily Newspaper, El Salvador (Grupo Dutriz)
El Salvador closed 2015 with the highest homicide rate in Central America, more than Honduras, a country that had been considered in recent years as the most insecure worldwide (not counting those who are at war). The rate of homicides registered in the country is so high that surpasses suffered by any country in the region at any time in the last 16 years. the seven countries of Central America, which together have a population of 46.7 million, added to the end in 2015 , approximately 18,800 homicides, for a homicide rate per 100,000 population of 40.2, which represents a slight increase over 2014, when it was 37.8.
More | La Prensa Grafica
As for Elena, she said her duties as a gang member’s girlfriend entailed working as a drug courier and a lookout, as well as intimacies that she didn’t want to discuss. At this point in our conversation, her mother and younger sister began crying.
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