Silent Crisis: Children flee the terror of Central American gangs

June 5, 2017

Thousands of children have fled horrific brutality and persecution

As the world focuses on Syria, South Sudan, Yemen and other flashpoints, a silent crisis is brewing in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Gang warfare and savage violence have transformed the Northern Triangle of Central America into one of the most dangerous places on earth. Young boys are recruited as lookouts before being turned into killers when they get older. Girls are kidnapped, coerced to traffic drugs and exploited as sexual slaves.

Increasing numbers of children and families are fleeing violence in the northern triangle of Central America - Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. UNHCR is supporting asylum seekers to find safety in Mexico at a series of shelters including the Tres Angeles Shelter, pictured here, in southern Mexico.

In a desperate attempt to keep their children safe, thousands of parents have fled with their families. In some cases, children have made the perilous journey alone. Traumatized by the brutality they witnessed and the risk they took to escape, they feel helpless.

Committed USA for UNHCR donors are giving these vulnerable children and families a fresh start in life and hope for the future, but there are many more children that need urgent help. So far, with generous donor support the UN Refugee Agency has:

  • Housed 2,480 asylum-seekers in eight UNHCR-supported shelters.
  • Constructed or rehabilitated six shelters for an additional 400 asylum-seekers so they can begin to rebuild their lives.
  • Provided educational opportunities to more than 4,000 children — and the daily routine and structure they so desperately need.
  • Given cash assistance to more than 1,900 asylum-seekers in Mexico — along with a sense of dignity and normalcy — as they wait for their refugee applications to be approved.

Here’s how you can help …

Central American refugee children deserve our care and protection. The best way to help them and refugees all over the world is to become a USA for UNHCR monthly donor today.