Human Rights and Civil Society

Rise in Number of Children Who Travel Unaccompanied In Mexico Calls for Greater Protection of Rights

05/25/11 – Monday, May 23, marked the beginning of the three day International Forum on Migrant Children and Adolescents Unaccompanied or Separated from their Parents (Foro Internacional sobre Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes Migrantes No Acompañados o Separados de su Familia), which is being held in Mexico City. The forum was organized by Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos, CNDH) in order to encourage local, state and federal authorities, along with civil organizations, to discuss the development of future policies that will protect the rights of minors. Various civil organizations will be presenting their research to show the urgency of the matter.

Mexico’s Department of Interior (Secretaría de Gobernación) has reported that from 2008 until March 2011, in accordance with research conducted by Mexico’s National Migration Institution, Mexico has documented 100,400 cases of migrant children within its borders of which 59,898 of those children traveled without parents or a guardian. 51,027 of those children and adolescents were Mexican, while the remaining 8,878 come from many other nations.

The president of Mexico’s CNDH, Raúl Plascencia, reported at the forum that children who travel alone are more vulnerable to deal drugs for organized crime members, become exploited for labor purposes, and be used for pornography and sexual exploitation. The study from which this information was concluded, titled “Migrant Children, Trade, and Infantile Exploitation in Mexico” (Niñez Migrante, Trata y Explotación Infantil en México), also found that the number of children who travel unaccompanied throughout Mexico is drastically rising. According to El Economista, the Center for Investigation and Studies for Development and Social Work (Centro de Estudios e Investigación en Desarrollo y Asistencia Social) concluded from their research that since 2009, 21 of the 32 Mexican states were involved in some form of sex-trafficking and exploitation crimes. The four cities with the highest current rates of involvement are Acapulco, Cancún, Ciudad Juárez, and Tijuana.


EFE. “Creció número de niños migrantes no acompañados, aseguró México.” Univision. May 23, 2011.

Quintero, Natalia Gómez. “En 3 años, se atendió a 100 mil niños: INM.” El Universal. May 24, 2011.

Reyes, José Juan. “Niños migrantes, blanco de los grupos de trata.” El Economista. May 24, 2011.

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