Borders and migration

Panama Reports 520,085 Migrants, Including 120,000 Minors, Crossing Darién Forest in 2023

Panamanian authorities said this Monday that 2023 closed with 520,085 migrants who crossed the Darién Forest, of which 120,000 were minors, a record number compared to the 248,283 transients who in 2022 followed this dangerous route to North America in search of better horizons.

Venezuelans, 328,667; Ecuadorians, 57,222; Haitians, 46,558; and China, 25,344, “were the most frequent nationalities to cross” this year the border jungle with Colombia and arrived in Panama, the Panamanian Ministry of Public Security (Minseg) reported on its social networks.

New record: Fewer migrants cross the jungle to North America

Likewise, the report provides figures that show a “significant drop” in the entry of migrants through the dense Darién jungle, in the months of October, November, and December 2023 with 49,256, 37,231, and 24,626, respectively.

The new record of migrant transit through Darién towards North America at the end of 2023 leaves behind that of previous years, such as in 2020 when 8,594 immigrants crossed the Darien jungle; in 2021, 133,726, and 2022, 248,283, according to the Minseg.

More than half a million in transit: Alarming increase in minors

Thus, this year the record of more than half a million migrants in transit through the Darién, the jungle that connects the isthmus and South America, has been broken, a figure that doubles last year’s record and includes a marked increase in minors.

This 2023 “has been a year in which a record has been broken. More than 100,000 children and adolescents have passed through, 50% of them are under 5 years old,” the expert based in gender of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Johana Tejada López.

Coming from Venezuela, Haiti, Ecuador and Colombia: Families that migrate

The majority of the families that migrate are from Venezuela, Haiti, Ecuador and Colombia, explained Tejada López in the Lajas Blanca shelter which, like in Bajo Chiquito, is the scene of this situation with numerous families with children and adolescents.

The Unicef expert also warned of an increase in the arrival of minors separated from their parents during the crossing and of adolescents traveling “alone.”

The migrants first arrive in Bajo Chiquito after crossing the jungle, where the authorities register their data and sleep one night. The next day they go down the Tuquesa River in canoes – paid for by themselves – to one of the two existing shelters in Darién.

Related Articles

Back to top button