Why It Matters

El Salvador is the most violent country in the world not at war. As a whole, the Northern Triangle of Central America—El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—is the most violent region in the world. Families, often single mothers and children, flee gang-controlled territories under threat of extortion, rape, and death. They are forced from home to home. Many ultimately seek protection abroad. An estimated 244,200 people were internally displaced in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras in 2016 alone. This phenomenon is driving irregular migration both to the north through Mexico to the United States, and increasingly to the south to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama.