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Child Protection in Latin America

Latin America is the region with one of the highest rates of criminality and violence in the world: seven of the 14 countries with the highest homicide rates in the world are in the region, and children and girls are the most affected.

“No violence against children is justifiable and all violence is preventable”.                                          

Latin America is the region with one of the highest rates of criminality and violence in the world: seven of the 14 countries with the highest homicide rates in the world are in the region.

Organized crime and the presence of armed groups represent a major concerns in many countries, where they control drug, human trafficking and illegal immigration routes; are linked to the illegal sales of arms; are associated with multiple human rights abuses (including kidnapping, homicides, sexual exploitation etc.) and often undermine the ability of the State and its institutions to govern democratically.

Girls are particularly affected by sexual violence and exploitation

Progress is slow

Despite the commitments to children’s rights made on the part of the State parties to the Convention of the Rights of the Child, and the general improvements in the living conditions of the population, thousands of children and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean are growing up denied their right to live a dignified life free of violence and to be protected from all forms of abuse and exploitation.

Of the 400 million children and adolescents growing up in LAC, approximately 50% of these are growing up in major urban agglomerations and of these at between 50 and 65% in low income peripheral urban areas. Many of these children and adolescents receive limited care from families and communities, have limited access to relevant formal education or to opportunities for decent work, and frequently are witnesses to, or victims of, violence.

Girls are the most affected

The increasing insecurity undermines directly their access to essential human rights and freedoms. They are particularly vulnerable to violations of their rights to protection against violence. Girls are particularly affected by sexual violence and exploitation, while boys are vulnerable to forced recruitment into organized crime groups and their activities and to physical violence and homicide.