Central American gangs are responsible for brutal acts of violence, abuse of women and forced displacement of thousands. Governments must go beyond punitive measures and address the social and economic roots of gang culture, tackle extortion schemes and invest in communities.
Police 17 July confirmed spike in murders in June with 350 killings; comes despite continuing fall in reported homicides in 2017 compared with previous year. Special Prosecutor for Human Rights 3 July released report citing over 800 cases of human rights abuse involving police and army, and 22 suspected extrajudicial killings in 2016. Prosecutors late July ordered almost 600 arrests for crimes including homicide and extortion in attempted crackdown on gang activity. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited El Salvador 27 July for meetings related to regional anti-gang taskforce. Corruption allegations against politicians from ruling and opposition parties continued. Facing prospect of mass deportations of its citizens by U.S., govt late June drafted legal framework to control returned gang members; official sources say four to five high-ranking gang members returning to country every day.