El Salvador Gangs
Daily Life, third prize stories
San Salvador, El Salvador
Anti-gang police conduct a raid in San Salvador.
Large-scale gang warfare has made El Salvador one of the most violent countries in the Americas. But on 9 March, leaders of the country’s two most powerful gangs agreed a truce, saying that the situation was getting out of hand, especially when it came to youth in their own communities.
The leaders of Barrio 18 and Mara Salvatrucha-13 pledged to put a brake on violence and to stop recruiting adolescent members. The government agreed to transfer 30 prisoners held in maximum-security jails to less restrictive institutions.
The truce appeared to have some success. Homicides in the first part of the year were down 32 percent, and kidnappings dropped by half. On 14 April, El Salvador recorded its first day in three years without a murder.
for The New York Times
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About the photographer
Tomás Munita, born in Chile in 1975, is a documentary photographer primarily interested in social issues. His work focuses on Latin America, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. Munita holds a number of awards, including an ICP Young Photographer Infinity Award in 2005, two World Press Photo awards in the same year for his coverage of the Kashmir Earthquake; the 2006 Leica Oskar Barnack award for Leaving the Shadows, his work on Kabul; the Henri Nannen Preis in 2010, for his work Island of Sorrow, published in Geo; an All Roads photography award from National Geographic, also in 2010, for his work Lost Harvest, Death of Loa River, and a Visa d’Or News award in 2012, for his coverage of the Syrian conflict. Munita’s work regularly appears in major publications such as The New York Times, Geo, Time, Courrier International, and others. He is currently based in Chile.