Armed group violently murders trans woman in El Salvador as hate crime epidemic worsens

A 27-year-old trans woman was grabbed off the street by armed suspects and stabbed to death in the capital of El Salvador last weekend.

Anahy Miranda Rivas was on a street in San Salvador when the group grabbed her, dragged her for several metres and then stabbed her with a sharp object.

The group were travelling in a van and fled the scene, leaving Rivas’ body near a nightclub on the Boulevard de los Héroes on 27 October.

“There have already been seven deaths this year and Anahy’s death is the third most violent,” Amalia Leiva, trans programme coordinator at COMCAVIS, an El Salvador trans charity, told the Washington Blade.

“We urgently need the mechanisms that have already been put into place with (El Salvador’s) National Civil Police and in the prosecutor’s office to be applied,” Leiva said.

Rivas’ death brings the number of hate crimes against the LGBT+ community in El Salvador to more than 300 this year.

“We cannot continue to maintain figures and cases with a high rate of violence,” Leiva said. “We need support to continue pushing the government.”

The Central American country needs laws to protect trans women and provide them with access to education and employment, because street-based sex work comes with a high risk, said Aislinn Odalys, an activist in the country.

“The same system forces us onto the streets to work in sex work and expose ourselves to all kinds of people who can attack us,” Odalys said.

“Trans women are the ones who are most exposed to all of the abuses that exist in the country, and this crime is a hate crime because of the viciousness and level of barbarity with which they committed it,” said Yve Martir, an LGBT+ activist.

In 2017, the UN called for a probe into unprecedented violence against trans women in El Salvador.