The LGBTI community in El Salvador is on edge after the violent murders of two trans women in one week. It brings the total of trans murders this year to three.
LGBTI organization, Presentes, reported police in the capital San Salvador assaulted the first victim. Presentes is still investigating what led to the murder of Camila a 29-year-old sex worker.
Camila did not return to her house on 30 January and Presentes is working on two hypothesis of what happened.
One of the hypothesis is that Camila’s fellow sex workers attacked her. But a number of those sex workers told Presentes that they saw police attack Camila and dump her body several kilometers away from where she worked.
‘Presentes has asked police for an official response but it has closed the case and has not responded,’ the organization said in a statement.
Camila’s body was found on Thursday 31 January and was taken to a nearby hospital where she died from her injuries three days later.
The second victim, Lolita, died on 8 February after a group of unknown assailants attacked her with a machete.
Aged only 20, Lolita, lived in the city of Sonsonate to the east of San Salvador. She died of her injuries in hospital.
LGBTI groups have called on authorities to do something to end the violence against trans people.
‘We demand justice from the El Salvadorian state for unpunished murders against our LGBTI populations, women and trans women,’ said Mónica Linares, the director of trans advocacy organization, Asociacion Aspidh Arcoiris Trans.
El Salvador has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Official statistics have recorded the rate of murder at 50.3 homicides per 10,000 people.
In 2017, the United Nations called for an investigation into the high murder rate of trans people in El Salavdor. Trans advocates said LGBTI people are afraid of gang violence and many flee El Salvador.
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) even labelled the exodus of trans people from El Salvador and other Central American countries as a ‘refugee crisis.