Violence the 'Overwhelming Factor' Pushing Kids Out of Central America: Bishop Mark Seitz

Violence the 'Overwhelming Factor' Pushing Kids Out of Central America: Bishop Mark Seitz

"Mr. Chairman, the ongoing generalized violence, leading to coercion and threats to the lives of citizens—particularly children—of these countries, is the overwhelming factor facing these children and propelling their migration. Extortion, family abuse and instability, kidnapping, threats, and coercive and forcible recruitment of children into criminal activity perpetrated by transnational criminal organizations and gangs have become part of everyday life in all of these countries. In addition to the violence and abuse at the community and national level, transnational criminal organizations, such as the Mexican-based Zeta cartel, which deals in the smuggling and trafficking of humans, drugs, and weapons, operate in these countries and along the migration journey with impunity, and have expanded their influence throughout Central America." - Bishop Mark Seitz, June 25, 2014.