‘More and more on the move’. Record number of migrant children in Latin America and Caribbean, UN warns
A new United Nations report has highlighted a concerning increase in child migration in Latin America and the Caribbean, warning that a record high could be reached over the next year. The report, published on Wednesday (20 November), shows that approximately 7000 children are on the move every day across the region, with poverty and violence being the primary drivers of migration.
The report calls for urgent investment in programmes that can address root causes of migration and provide protection to children on the move. The UN notes that the number of unaccompanied or separated migrant children has also been rising rapidly, with numbers up by 200% since 2016.
The increasing numbers of children travelling alone and becoming separated from their families has led to an increase in exploitation, including slavery, sexual abuse and violence. The report also highlights the stigma and discrimination that migrant children face, such as being denied access to health care and educational services.
UNICEF, which co-authored the report, warned that the current trend could lead to a “lost generation” of children, where the human rights of already vulnerable children are further infringed upon. The organisation urgently called for intervention in the form of governments investing in higher quality education, improved access to healthcare and better safety for migrant children in the region.