The children left behind: millions left as parents migrate in search of work
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The children left behind: millions left as parents migrate in search of work

Around 215 million people live and work away from their country of birth, according to a UN report.

Yet the repercussions from mass migration have a marked impact on children.

Many parents are forced to leave, searching for better and more well-paid employment opportunities in neighboring countries or further afield.

Their children are entrusted to relatives or friends.

Looking to Latin America

Mexico and Ecuador are just two examples from Latin America where children are worst affected.

“The absence of parents generates feelings of vulnerability and low self esteem amongst children and adolescents who remain in their country of origin.” according to children’s charity Unicef.

Around 60 percent of children in Mexico who have witnessed one of their parents migrate, have a higher chance of suffering from psychological problems.

This in turn, reduces their chance of completing a formal education.

Each year, hundreds of Mexicans make the treacherous trip across the U.S. border.

Many perish en route, their remains often never found or worse, buried in mass graves.

According to a BBC documentary, 58,000 children from Central American countries, arrived at the U.S. border last year.

The percentage of children aged 12 or under, detained at the U.S. border while traveling alone, rose 117 percent during 2014.

The ones left behind

Yet Ecuador has also been affected by migration.

According to a Unicef report entitled “Memories, Family, Childhood and Migration,” published in 2007, between 1990 and 2000, the number of children with parents who have immigrated has risen from 17,000 to 150,000.

During 2005, 218,000 children had at least one parent living abroad.

Still, with Mexico to U.S. immigration a continuing problem, and presidential candidate Donald Trump fanning the political fire, illegal border crossings don’t look to be on the wane anytime soon.

More children could soon be left behind.

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