Number of unaccompanied migrant children grows 333% in 2 years: Unicef
By Giselle Rodríguez
The number of unaccompanied migrant children and teenagers grew 333% in two years: from 5,596 cases in 2013 to 18,650 in 2015, said the United Nations Fund for Children in Mexico (UNICEF).
In 2015, 97% of these children came from Central America: Honduras (27.4%), Guatemala (49.6%) and El Salvador (20.5%). Most of them were teenagers aged between 12 and 17 years.
In the same year more than 11,000 Mexican migrant children were repatriated from the United States. Of these, 84% (9,841) traveled unaccompanied.
UNICEF said that unaccompanied migrant children face serious hazards such as accidents, human trafficking and the possibility of being recruited by organized crime as well as abuse and exploitation.
"These children have dreams, they want to study and have a fulfilling life, and they need our support so they can rejoin their families and overcome the violence that led them to flee their homes, "said Isabel Crowley, UNICEF Representative in Mexico.
Given this reality, UNICEF highlighted the importance of the new General Law on Children and Teenagers approved in Mexico to protect the rights of migrant children.