Praying for Women in Latin America & the Caribbean
According to the United Nations, Latin America and the Caribbean is the most violent region in the world for females. Three of the countries here – El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras – rank among the world’s most violent countries not at war. Family violence, gang violence, extortion, hyperinflation, organized crime, and poverty are forcing millions in Latin America and the Caribbean to flee their home countries.
There’s good news, too. The World Bank reports that more women in Latin America and the Caribbean are getting an education, jobs, and better health care. But much is still to be done to improve the quality of education and equality in income. Attitudes in the workplace, legal system, and homes are slow to change. Domestic-violence rates are still critically high. Many females are emotionally, physically, and sexually abused, the harm often resulting in death at the hands of fathers, husbands, and boyfriends.
Many mothers fear their children will be forced to join gangs. In the very small country of El Salvador, 500,000 are involved in gangs, contributing to the world’s highest murder rate for people under the age of 19. Girls are targeted at an early age, either to be sexually abused, to become a gang member, or to be forced into becoming a sex slave. Gang members take revenge on rivals through the rape and murder of their sisters and daughters.
Several Caribbean and Latin American nations have been labeled “major illicit drug-producing and/or drug-transit countries,” leading to violence, extortion, and corruption that contribute to the economic crises in the region. Millions have fled less stable countries in the region seeking safety and a better life in Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, or even the United States and Europe.