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IJM Calls on Trump Administration to Restore Humanitarian Aid to Central America

International Justice Mission (IJM) welcomes the introduction of bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives to authorize foreign assistance to Central America. Sponsored by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel and ranking Republican Michael McCaul, the United States–Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act (HR 2615) addresses poverty, governance, corruption and security in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

IJM’s Guatemala office provides legal services to child victims of sexual assault and collaborates with Guatemalan law enforcement officers to investigate and prosecute perpetrators. On March 29, 2019, the executive branch suspended virtually all aid to Central America, including a four-year grant from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement to expand IJM’s program throughout Guatemala.

With the support of U.S. foreign aid and American non-governmental organizations, Guatemala has made significant strides in recent years in prosecuting cases of sexual assault of children. Over the past four years, the number of arrests for child sexual assault has nearly tripled and convictions for the crime have quadrupled. According to IJM Senior Advisor, Holly Burkhalter, 'IJM’s experience in Guatemala demonstrates two things: first, that a resource-poor country can make real progress in combating violence against children, and second, that U.S. aid programs can help make life safer for those most vulnerable to violence.'

Gary Haugen, IJM CEO, called upon the Trump Administration to restore aid to Central America saying, 'Mass caravans are going to be the future of Central America if the justice systems there are not reformed to more effectively protect citizens and restrain and deter predators.'

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