Migration politics leading to risky routes leading and modern slavery or death

Migration politics leading to risky routes leading and modern slavery or death

Migration politics leading to risky routes leading and modern slavery or death

A new people smuggling route has opened across the Carribean Sea via the Bahamas for those attempting to reach Florida and seek asylum in the U.S. But last November, 30 people died trying to cross when their boat capsized off the coast. A stretch of jungle called the Darién Gap which spans the border between Colombia and Panama is another popular route for migrants heading North, but countless numbers have died trying to trek through it. The politics of migration and border control are in the headlines almost every day. But behind the headlines are real lives being impacted, risked and lost according to an article in IPS News. Due to a lack of safe channels of migration and effective asylum systems people are traversing perilous pathways and falling victim to human trafficking, exploitation and tragedy in larger and larger numbers.

When safe routes are closed off, people take risky ones

Millions of people in Latin American and Caribbean countries are on the move, fleeing authoritarianism, political insecurity, gang violence, extreme poverty and an increasing number of climate disasters. Most remain in countries around the region as they present fewer challenges for arriving migrants, however they also offer limited opportunities. That is why, despite tightening immigration policies, the USA remains a strong pull for migrants. That means people are heading into the jungle of the Darién and taking to the sea in increasing numbers, willing to risk their lives for the dream of a better life. According to the United Nations’ Missing Migrants Project, in 2023 a minimum of 1,275 people died or went missing during migration in the Americas.

Ana Maria Diez, Coalition for Venezuela said:

“It is impossible to talk about the Darién without talking about trafficking networks, human smuggling, sexual abuse and children crossing unaccompanied…older people, entire families. Their vulnerability exposes them to all kinds of abuse. “

Driven by a lack of opportunities, discrimination, high levels of inequality and unmet social needs, US authorities had a record 2.4 million encounters with unauthorized migrants at the border in the 2022 fiscal year. Many of those unauthorized travelers had crossed the Darién Gap and then headed across Central America and Mexico.

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