Number of Migrant Children in Mexico Has Increased Sharply: UNICEF

    Wahyu Dwi Anggoro - 20 April 2021 18:06 WIB
    Number of Migrant Children in Mexico Has Increased Sharply: UNICEF
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    Panama City: The number of migrant children reported in Mexico has increased sharply from 380 to nearly 3,500 since the start of 2021.

    Currently, an average of 275 additional migrant children find themselves in Mexico every day, after being detected by the Mexican authorities, waiting to cross into the US or being returned, according to UNICEF estimates.

     



    "I was heartbroken to see the suffering of so many young children, including babies, at the Mexican border with the US," said Jean Gough, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, in a press release on Monday.

    "Most of the shelter facilities I visited in Mexico are already overcrowded and cannot accommodate the increasing number of children and families migrating northward. We are deeply concerned that living conditions for migrant children and mothers in Mexico could soon deteriorate further, Gough explained.

    According to Gough, children represent at least 30 per cent of the migrant population in many Mexican shelters. Half of them have traveled without their parents, which is one of the highest proportions ever recorded in Mexico. Mexico has become a country of origin, transit and return for these migrant children coming mostly from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico.

    The perilous journey from northern Central America towards the US can last up to two months in very harsh conditions. Harrowing testimonies of migrant families collected by UNICEF teams in Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana indicate serious human rights abuses during the trip, such as extortion, sexual abuse, kidnapping and human trafficking. 

    The perilous journey from northern Central America towards the U.S. can last up to two months in very harsh conditions. Harrowing testimonies of migrant families collected by UNICEF teams in Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana indicate serious human rights abuses during the trip, such as extortion, sexual abuse, kidnapping and human trafficking. Beyond the humanitarian response at all stages of the migration journey, UNICEF is calling upon the international community to place children and women at the center of all investment plans across Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and southern Mexico to create better living conditions and opportunities free of violence for families and young people at the community level.

    In 2020, UNICEF welcomed the reform of the migration and refugee laws by Mexico, which ban immigration detention for children and prioritize the best interests of all migrant children in the development and application of immigration policies and procedures which affect them. 

    (WAH)

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