Updated 06:58 PM EDT, Wed, Apr 26, 2017
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Latin America Said to Have Highest Female Murder Rates in the World

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Mexican Drug War Fuels Violence In Juarez
JUAREZ, MEXICO - MARCH 24: Jesusita Cardoza grieves at the scene of the murder of her two daughters aged 17 and 21 March 24, 2010 in Juarez, Mexico. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano all visited Mexico on yesterday for discussions centered on Mexico's endemic drug-related violence. The border city of Juarez, Mexico has been racked by violent drug-related crime recently and has quickly become one of the most dangerous cities in the world in which to live. As drug cartels have been fighting over ever-lucrative drug corridors along the United States border, the murder rate in Juarez has risen to 173 slayings for every 100,000 residents. President Felipe Calderon's strategy of sending 7000 troops to Juarez has not mitigated the situation. With a population of 1.3 million, 2,600 people died in drug-related violence last year and 500 so far this year, including two Americans recently who worked for the U.S. Consulate and were killed as they returned from a child's party. (Photo : Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Between the years 2004 to 2010, almost a thousand women were recorded to have been murdered in Mexico alone. These "femicides," as classified under Mexican law, are pointless deaths of women who were killed because of their gender.

It is not just Mexico that is taking lives of women. According to InSight Crime, the Latin American region has the most female murders on the planet. While many of these can be accounted for through domestic abuse, organized crimes such as human trafficking and gang violence are also taken into account.

Mexicans call out their woes to Pope Francis, who is going to visit the country on Friday. But while they cry out for justice for the brutal murders, Mexico is not yet the most dangerous for women in Latin America. Reports revealed El Salvador actually tops the list of the most female murders, with a rate of 8.9 homicides per 100,000 women in 2012. It is then followed by Colombia and Guatemala with rates of 6.3 and 6.2 respectively. Russia came in fourth on the list with a rate of 5.4. Brazil takes the fifth spot with a rate of 4.8.

Buzzfeed reported that Maria Antonia Marquez, whose daughter was murdered in 2004 said, "We deserve that the pope makes a statement about femicides."

She also added that if he fails to acknowledge the presence of this nightmare in the area, he will be "one more that does not listen to us, dead or alive... it's like we are second-class citizens."

Guatemalan Attorney General Thelma Aldana also mentioned that of the 854 women murdered in her country, as many as 50 percent were killed due to organized crimes such as human trafficking. Many women between the ages of 18 and 28 are tricked into working in the sex trade and are later tortured, raped, and often murdered.

Amando Philip de Andres, a representative of the UN Office of Drugs And Crime for Central America and the Carribean said, "The femicide rate in cases of human trafficking for victims is very, very high. Especially for the purposes of sexual exploitation, which ... might account for 91 or 92 percent of the cases."

Then there's gang violence where women are often considered to be the property of gang members. InSight Crime noted that during gang disputes and wars, women are caught in the crossfire as rival gangs target their rivals' mothers, sisters, girlfriends, and wives. What's more, as the property of gang members, a woman's infidelity is severely punished. Women are often killed for it. 

Activists in Mexico said that the church watched quietly as women were targeted in their Catholic country, and it's time for the Pope to address such difficult topics. Ana Yeli Perez, a legal advisor at the National Citizen's Observatory on Femicide said, "The one who has not recognized, who makes invisible, who has not made a statement, who has in a way been an accomplice, is the Catholic hierarchy in Mexico."

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