Unicef in Central America: Protecting the rights of vulnerable children

15 April 2016

Leg 6, the Seattle Pacific Challenge sees the fleet arriving to west coast USA, after almost a month at sea.

But the Clipper Race fleet isn’t the only group heading to the USA. Each year, tens of thousands of unaccompanied children make the dangerous journey from Central America to the United States in search of a better and safer place to grow up.

Seventeen-year-old Bryan*, pictured, left Honduras and travelled through Guatemala aboard a shipping container. After arriving in Mexico, he boarded the supply train that runs to the US border – commonly known as ‘The Death Train’.

“Once in Mexico, I took the train to the United States. But I fell and lost my leg … I think I fell asleep, and when I woke up, I was already on the tracks.”

Bryan’s American dream never came true: he spent more than 30 days in hospital before eventually returning home.

Prior to his journey, Bryan did not know anyone in the US and had no clear idea what to do there. But his desperation was stronger than all the reasons not to go. “I want to continue studying, but I cannot, because we do not have sufficient resources,” says Bryan.

As in Bryan’s case, most children and adolescents who travelled last year without adult company to the US were from the so-called Northern Triangle of Central America: Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. This subregion holds three of the five highest national homicide rates in the world, and has high levels of poverty and inequality.

Unicef works with governments in Central America and Mexico to protect children from violence, crime and other threats, and supports programmes for education and health. Unicef also helps children like Bryan with medical and psychological assistance, and works to reunite them with their families.

With your help, we can build a safer world where every child can realise their full potential; a world where no child will have to suffer like Bryan.

Click here to donate to the Clipper Race Unicef fund and help us reach our target of £300,000 for children in danger.

* Name changed

Photo credit: © UNICEF LACRO/2014/González

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