Children and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean are forced to migrate due to violence, a lack of opportunities and family separation in their countries. Along the way, they are exposed to many risks, including abuse, being used to transport drugs, becoming victims of homicide, falling into trafficking networks, suffering from accidents and spending many hours without food and water.
At the moment, the region is going through two migratory crises. One in the Northern Triangle of Central America to the United States. This has become much more severe due to anti-migration policies and cases of detention or return. The second is in the Southern corridor. Children and their families are leaving Venezuela due to the economic and political crisis that the country is going through at this time.
Save the Children in Latin America and the Caribbean work in the region to mitigate the causes that drive children to leave their communities of origin and provide them with tools to generate their own livelihoods. At the same time, we respond early to provide relief and basic needs to the most vulnerable during an immigration crisis. Additionally, we seek to influence national and regional authorities to guarantee the rights of migrant children.
We are responding in Colombia and Peru to the Venezuelan migration crises. We are providing cash transfers to the most vulnerable families in the border regions and supporting the purchase of food and other essential items. We are running child friendly spaces on the borders of Peru and Colombia to provide psychosocial support allowing children to play, learn, and allow them to be children again. Also, we are providing school kits and implementing education in emergencies programmes.
In Colombia, we’re setting up a sexual and reproductive health clinic which will provide life-saving medical care to survivors of sexual violence, expectant mothers, and others who’ve crossed the border seeking help. Also, we’re distributing water filters, and hygiene kits with essential items that help to keep children clean and healthy.
In Venezuela, we are responding to the crisis through our partners, providing nutritional and psychosocial support to children and their families. We are also driving advocacy efforts inside and outside Venezuela to protect the rights of children on the move and the children that have been left behind.
We work to prevent unsafe migration for children by improving livelihood opportunities for personal, economic and social development within their communities of origin in the Northern Triangle. We are implementing peacebuilding in schools and strengthening the capacities of students, parents, and teachers to make schools free of violence and a safe space in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. We are working to defend women and youth that are at risk or victims of human trafficking in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. We are protecting internally displaced children by improving protection systems for children who have been displaced and/or returned to their countries after migration in El Salvador and Honduras. We are improving Child Protection Systems by strengthening local and cross-border protection systems and building in quality services for children in the Northern Triangle and Mexico. Moreover, we are providing Sexual and Reproductive Health Services to returning adolescents in El Salvador and Guatemala.