SAN SALVADOR, 19 August 2003 – The Minister of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador, María Eugenia Brizuela de Ávila, and the Representative of UNICEF in El Salvador, Juan Carlos Espínola, launched the Central American radio campaign called “La Ruta del Norte” (The Route to the North) on Monday, a programme aimed to persuade mothers, fathers or guardians not to send their children to the United States illegally.
“This campaign has two phases. The initial phase will be predominantly promotional involving the radio broadcast of 40 stories and 11 spots of people who have traveled illegally to the United States, as well as a series of 10 chapters on the story of a Central American boy who traveled abroad. The broadcast of these messages will be carried out approximately for six months,” announced Brizuela who added that 633 Central American radio stations will support the campaign.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs also informed that, once the first six months of the project are over, “we’ll reach the second phase that has an educative focus. We’ll be distributing posters and comics that will be handed out at schools so that we can reach people before they choose to send their children on an illegal journey.”
During the event, Espínola explained the importance of the broadcast of the messages since “the children who travel illegally under the care of strangers can be easy prey for networks of child sexual exploiters, drug traffickers, or they can disappear completely.”
“This campaign will have special relevance with the Christmas holidays approaching because it’s the time in which the parents, that live in the United States, start the necessary arrangements so that their children can reach them. This is a basic right and cannot be denied, but it’s necessary that the adults take into account that, if they send their children with traffickers, they can run unnecessary and dangerous risks,” said the Representative of UNICEF in El Salvador.
The “Ruta del Norte” is a joint effort between Radio Nederland of Costa Rica, the International Migrations Organization (IMO), the Central American Union of Associations of Radio Stations (UNARCA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador and UNICEF.
“I cannot finish without thanking and acknowledging the work of the non-governmental organizations on the matter. The network that we can launch as a government cannot reach all the spaces of the illegal immigrant routes and this is where the civic organizations appear. They take water to those who are close to dying; they recognize the vulnerabilities that the illegal immigrants suffer. We have to mention the refuge houses that exist in the routes. We have to provide support to them so that we can close the circle. It is impossible to believe that a government can tackle the subject alone,” added the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The first broadcast of “La Ruta del Norte” is expected next week.
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Unicef El Salvador
Tel: 503 252 88 00