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Central America’s Children on the Run

Central America's 00 Children on the Run 00 A Crisis Close to Home What if you had to choose between joining a gang or being killed-at 6 years old? For children in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, this is their reality. "They made my sister disappear." -Maria, age 14 "The gang told me that if I returned to school, I wouldn't make it home alive." -Alfonso, age 17 "They said if I was still there, they would grab me, and I didn't know what would happen." -Maritza, age 15 In the area known as the Northern Triangle of Central America, gangs routinely threaten and recruit children as young as 5 or 6. As violence blankets the area, many children and families are fleeing without protection. Where Violence Reigns This sharp increase in violence is due to criminal groups called “maras" or “pandillas." With homicide rates among the highest ever recorded, several cities in Central America are now among the most dangerous in the world. 2016 Murder Rates in the Northern Triangle' 60 per 100,000 people 5,154 murders 27.3 per 100,000 people 4,520 murders Guatemala Honduras El Salvador 81.2 per 100,000 people 5,278 murders In the last four years, the number of <1% asylum-seekers from Central America has grown 7x. The estimated number of refugees in 146,000 Mexico who apply for asylum, in part due to lack of information. 18,000 20,900 children traveling alone were detained 2012 2016 between January-April 2015. On the Run Forced to flee their homes because of extreme violence, conflict or persecution, child refugees cross borders to find safety. 11.48 million refugees worldwide are under 18 years old. With millions of children fleeing conflict, their education is one of the first-and greatest-casualties. 50 22 Less than percent percent 1 percent of refugees enroll in higher education. of refugee children of adolescents enroll in have access to secondary school. primary education. These Children Need Our Help There is hope. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is on the UNHCR ground helping those forced to flee the Northern Triangle. Current efforts provide shelter and protection for families on the run with things like cash assistance, temporary accommodations and legal services. Providing safe spaces and educational programs Placing survivors of sexual Sharing information, and gender-based violence legal aid and for women and children in safe houses representation Improving and expanding Increasing cash-based Supporting local shelter and transit conditions interventions and vouchers integration opportunities and targeted resettlements Spare Change for Real Change You can help. Consider what you spend on coffee. A small change in your routine can save the life of a refugee child. What could you do for the price of the average cup of coffee? Let's do the math. 2 coffees a day = $5.40 One week = One month = $37.80 $151.202 (@ $2.70 each) (7 days a week) (4 weeks) If you made your coffee at home and saved the money for just... 1 week You can help provide a supermarket gift card for a month's worth of food, thanks to local partnerships. 3 weeks You can help supply materials to improve shelter security such as gates, locks and on-site guards. 2 weeks You can help cover a month's rent for a family of six, as they await asylum protection. 1 month You can help equip children with school supplies and uniforms to attend school. How You Can Help Donations from people like you make this work possible. Learn more about how donors to USA for UNHCR are helping at %D O O O O O Sources: USA for 1 "Crime Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (UN-CTS)." 2016, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2 "Square Coffee Report," 2015, Square UNHCR The UN Refugee Agency O O O O 口 10

Central America’s Children on the Run

shared by ColumnFive on Jul 05
Gang violence in Central America is forcing thousands of families and unaccompanied children to flee for safety. El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, the area known as the Northern Triangle, have expe...


Column Five


Human Rights
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