According to UNICEF, in many Mexican shelters, children and teens account for at least 30% of the migrant population. Half of them have traveled without their parents, which is one of the highest proportions ever recorded in Mexico.
The perilous journey from northern Central America towards the US can last up to two months in very harsh conditions, and many are alone, tired-out and startled, Henrietta Fore, UNICEF´s Executive Director, warned.
Harrowing testimonies of migrant families collected by UNICEF teams in Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana indicate serious human rights abuses during the trip, such as extortion, sexual abuse, kidnapping, human trafficking, or even being recruited by gangs, Henrietta Fore pointed out.
Since the beginning of 2021, the number of minors in Mexico went from 380 to nearly 3,500, according to UNICEF.