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Fighting to Protect the Innocent

“We have found you and we have given you time to enter the [gang]. You have had two opportunities to join and we will kill you if you don’t,” the note said. It was addressed to Ariel, a 14-year-old boy living in El Salvador with his mother and sisters. It continued to outline that the gang would slit his throat and kill his family if he did not pledge allegiance to their group. Knowing the police would be no help, his mother, Maria, knew she had to get Ariel out of El Salvador in order to save his life.

El Salvador was recently named the murder capital of the world, with a murder rate 22 times than that in the United States. Gang violence is a major contributor, with two main gangs warring for control and recruits. And the gangs don’t take loyalty lightly. Maria and Ariel had already watched a family member killed at the hands of the gang. They knew if they stayed Ariel would be forced to pledge or die.

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Categories: WWYFF, International

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