Children migrating through Latin America, Caribbean reach record numbers: UNICEF

The UN children's agency UNICEF warned Thursday that children are migrating through Latin America and the Caribbean in record numbers, accounting for a larger share of the migrant population than other regions in the world.

''Gang violence, instability, poverty and climate-related events are, alarmingly, gripping the region and pushing more children from their homes,'' said UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean Director Garry Conille.

''More and more children are on the move, of an increasingly young age, often alone and from diverse countries of origin, including from as far away as Africa and Asia.”

According to UNICEF, more than 60,000 children crossed the Darien jungle between Colombia and Panama in the first seven months of 2023, half of them below the age of 5, making it the year with the most child crossings on record.

The number of refugee and migrant children apprehended at the southern border of the US has also been on the rise, it said.

More than 83,000 children entered the US in the first seven months of 2023, according to US Customs and Border Protection.

Globally, children make up 13% of the migrant population, but in this region, about one in four people on the move -- 25% -- is a child, up from 19% in 2019, according to UNICEF.

It warned of the physical risks along irregular migration routes, especially for children, including violence, exploitation and abuse.

UNICEF called for more funding to meet the humanitarian needs of refugees and migrant children in the region.

Last modified on Friday, 08 September 2023 07:33