Chapter

Routes to child slavery in Central America

Virginia Murillo Herrera

in Child slavery now

Published by Policy Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9781847426109
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301714 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847426109.003.0020
Routes to child slavery in Central America

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This chapter describes the process of child trafficking into, within, and through Central America. Relative poverty is the key driver, with the United States to the north a beacon for those seeking economic betterment. The violence of recent civil wars, and of criminal gangs and growing social inequality, create a context for huge levels of out-migration. Within these processes of migration there are substantial numbers, often hidden, of children either seeking an improvement in their own lives or, at least, to rejoin adult family members who migrated earlier also in search of work and a better life. The particular geography of Central America makes it a bridge for trafficking and it has come to be seen as a good destination for the commercial sexual exploitation of minors, with accelerating numbers of ever-younger children and adolescents being drawn into the trafficking nexus. Countries in the region are attempting to harmonise legislation, while non-governmental organisations at the grassroots level are also engaging in concerted actions.

Keywords: Central America; child slavery; poverty; migration; geography; sexual exploitation; legislation; non-governmental organisations; child trafficking

Chapter.  3526 words.  Illustrated.

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