International Justice Mission (IJM) applauds the reintroduction of the Central American Women and Children Protection Act (S. 2003 and H.R. 4017) in the 117th Congress. The bipartisan legislation, reintroduced by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Congresswomen Norma Torres (D-CA) and Ann Wagner (R-MO) and their colleagues, will increase resources to respond to and prevent domestic violence and sexual assault against women and children in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
“The United States has both a moral imperative and fundamental responsibility to provide assistance to counter the alarming levels of violence perpetrated against women and children in Central America,” said Senator Menendez upon reintroduction of the legislation.
Central America is characterized by high levels of sexual and gender-based violence against women and children, including domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault. Furthermore, impunity for such crimes is the norm, with conviction rates for violence against women under 5 percent. The legislation seeks to address many of the existing gaps in the public justice systems response to violence against women and children.
“By increasing the capacity of the criminal justice systems, and family courts in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, the U.S. is supporting the strengthening of these institutions by providing assistance, protection and empowering families with clear objectives to protect survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, abuse and neglect,” said Senator Rubio.
If enacted, the legislation would authorize the U.S. Department of State to enter into bilateral agreements, known as Women and Children Protection Compacts, with the governments of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala to develop a strategy for addressing violence against women and children.
“The Biden administration, with bipartisan support from Congress, has rightly focused on addressing the root causes of migration from the Northern Triangle region”, said Nate King, National Director of U.S. Advocacy and Mobilization at IJM. “For years we have seen that when communities and homes are not safe, people leave. We urge Congress to immediately pass the Central America Women and Children Protection Act to advance stability and prosperity in the region.”
About International Justice Mission:
International Justice Mission is a global organization that protects people in poverty from violence. IJM partners with local authorities in 24 program offices in 14 countries to combat slavery, violence against women and children, and other forms of abuse against people who are poor. IJM works to rescue and restore victims, hold perpetrators accountable, and help strengthen public justice systems. Learn more at IJM.org.