’It’s a crime to be young and pretty’: girls flee predatory Central America gangs | Global development | The Guardian
Sara Rincón was walking home from college in the capital of El Salvador when she was confronted by three heavily tattooed gang members who had been harassing her for weeks.
The group’s leader – a man in his 30s, with the figure 18 etched on to his shaven head – threw her against a wall, and with his hands around her neck gave her one last warning.
“He said no woman had ever turned him down, and if I refused to be his girlfriend, he would kill me and my family. I didn’t want to leave home but after that we couldn’t stay; we left for Mexico in the middle of the night,” said Rincón, forcing a smile through her tears.
Increasing numbers of women and girls are fleeing El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras amid mounting evidence that criminal gangs are systematically targeting adolescent girls as sexual slaves.