Uprooted in Central America and Mexico

Migrant and refugee children face a vicious cycle of hardship and danger

© UNICEF/UN0217807/Bindra


In the countries of northern Central America – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – and in Mexico, gang-related violence, organized crime, extortion, poverty and limited access to quality education and social services are part of daily life for millions of children. Each day, families facing these harsh conditions make the painful decision to leave their homes, communities and countries in search of safety and a more hopeful future. Some move within the region, while others head north to Mexico and the United States.

“I asked my father if we could leave our country because the gang was going to kill me.”
– A 15-year-old girl from Honduras seeking asylum in Guatemala

This Child Alert takes stock of the root causes of irregular migration from northern Central America and Mexico. It examines the array of challenges and dangers faced by migrant and refugee children and families during the arduous process of migration and return. And it employs evidence and interviews with some of these children and families – as well as non-governmental organizations and government partners – to highlight workable solutions that can protect the lives and well-being of uprooted children.

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