Lawlessness, Violence in Central America a 'Major Cause' of Recent Migration: ABA

Lawlessness, Violence in Central America a 'Major Cause' of Recent Migration: ABA

"Reasons include escaping from abuse and very real threats by powerful and violent street gangs, including the 18th Street gang and the Mara Salvatrucha gang. These gangs frequently engage in forced recruitment of teenage boys, sexual slavery of teenage girls, and targeted extortion efforts, often focusing on children with parents and extended family members in the United States. The gangs are terrifying and relentless in their efforts to exact compliance. A more recent phenomenon, children are fleeing these countries due to threats by multinational drug trafficking organizations, demanding that children act as drug mules or look-outs for illicit cartel activities. Furthermore, many of the children ProBAR represents have been abandoned, abused, or neglected in their home countries by parents or by extended family members. In most cases involving children, there are multiple factors that fuel the decision to migrate to the United States; however there is no question that the increasing violence and lawlessness in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras is a major cause of the recent influx." - James R. Silkenat, ABA, June 25, 2014.