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Security Context

El Salvador continues to struggle against gang-related crime and violence. While the homicide rate has fallen every year since 2015, reaching 18 per 100,000 in 2021 (according to National Civil Police data), insecurity affects nearly all elements of the economy and society, despite recent improvements. In addition, according to the UN, El Salvador has one of the highest femicide rates in the world. Violence destroys communities, keeps kids out of school, inhibits economic growth, and fuels irregular migration.  Despite these challenges, there have been advances in security that have focused on reclaiming the most insecure parts of the country from gangs and rebuilding communities through increased economic opportunities and social development. USAID continues to collaborate with the government, private sector and civil society organizations to build on security advances.

Objective: Citizen Security and Access to Justice

USAID targets urban areas with high crime rates, where people are more likely to attempt to migrate, with programs that prevent crime, provide protection for crime victims and other vulnerable populations, and improve the criminal justice system.  USAID supports target municipalities and communities to develop and implement local violence prevention policies and programs.  To protect vulnerable populations and victims, USAID increases access to services for victims and helps strengthen measures to protect human rights.  USAID helps strengthen the justice system to detect, investigate, and prosecute violent crimes and corruption, placing particular emphasis on support services for crime victims. 

USAID Citizen Security Activities

  • Protection and Quality of Care for Children Project ($4.9 million) --The Protection and Quality of Care for Children Project addresses the rights and needs of El Salvador’s most vulnerable children by strengthening the national child protection system and improving quality of care for all children
  • Rights and Dignity ($15 million) -- Through the project, USAID strengthens human rights advocacy and monitoring of the security sector on these issues and to prevent discrimination and exclusion of vulnerable groups and improve their access to services.
  • New Path for Social Reintegration ($6.1 million)--The New Path for Social Reintegration Project with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)  focuses on serving youth, adolescents, and adults affiliated with gangs who are serving or have served a judicial sentence to reduce recidivism, strengthen public safety, and prevent irregular migration by providing personal development opportunities to project participants.  

Last updated: November 17, 2022

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