Many victims, especially those in the Northern Triangle nations of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, feel powerless to fight back against extortion. The fear generated by the powerful street gangs within communities tends to assure that once they are threatened, most people pay up, or hand over what is being demanded.
States across the region are also struggling to slow this growing criminal enterprise and, in many cases, their responses have made matters worse.
But there are exceptions to both across the region. In this section, we outline some of the ways that communities and states have resisted or responded to extortion throughout Central America.