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International News: UN rings alarm over surge in migrant children traveling through Latin America and the Caribbean

Posted: Saturday, September 9, 2023. 6:41 am CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: Alarming trends in child migration are emerging from Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a recent United Nations report. The research revealed that record-breaking numbers of children are migrating through the region in 2023.

Factors like gang-related violence, poverty, political instability, and climate change repercussions are propelling this mass movement of the young.

A particularly distressing data point from the report shows that in just the first seven months of 2023, more than 60,000 children dared to cross the perilous Darien Gap, a notorious and treacherous jungle corridor bridging South and Central America.

Equally concerning is the increasing number of very young children embarking on these hazardous journeys. UNICEF statistics have highlighted that children below 11 years of age constitute a staggering 91% of all children traversing key transit junctures in the area.

Garry Conille, the director of UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean, expressed deep concern, stating, “We’re witnessing an unprecedented surge in children, many alarmingly young and often unaccompanied, migrating from not just Latin America, but also distant regions like Africa and Asia.”

Emphasizing the gravity of the situation, Conille called for both an amplified humanitarian response and the establishment of safer, structured migration channels for children and families. He insisted that it is imperative to safeguard their rights and futures, regardless of their origin.

 

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