The Changing Face of Child Migration in Latin America and the Caribbean

A region like no other
| UNICEF | 2023
The Changing Face of Child Migration in Latin America and the Caribbean

Children are crossing multiple borders with or without their parents or guardians in search of better opportunities and protection. While the number of unaccompanied children on the move has continued to grow, the number of children with their families has risen proportionally. Today, the largest group of migrant children consists of children below 11 years old – accounting for up to 91 per cent of children on the move at some key transit points. This new reality of more and younger children on the move poses challenges to national migration policies and humanitarian responses in the region. Increasingly, governments and humanitarian partners must prioritize family unity, the best interests of the child, legal identity and access to life-saving services when developing and implementing policy responses.

Although international migration in the region has been the focus of much greater public and political focus, in some countries, the number of people moving internally is far greater than those moving internationally.

The motivating factors behind a child or family’s decision to move are tremendously varied. Some are escaping violence, political persecution and extreme poverty. Others leave in search of greater opportunities and a better future for their children or the desire to reunite with family members abroad. These factors are often compounded by political conflict, climate events and the chronic dysfunction of state institutions. (...)