Protecting Children in Central America 

An unprecedented number of unaccompanied children from Central America have been fleeing their home and searching for safety in the United States. Many come fleeing gender-based violence, gang violence, drug traffickers or cartels, domestic violence, human trafficking, and violence and discrimination against LGBTI individuals, violence from which their countries of origin fail to protect them. Others leave because it is unsafe for them to attend school or to work because they live in a gang controlled territory or must cross through one to attend school. Once on the journey, children are extremely vulnerable to rape, and sexual assault, and exploitation by human traffickers, smugglers, drug cartels, gangs, and sometimes even corrupt government officials.  Some children ultimately remain in the United States or Mexico, but others may be deported to their countries of origin or choose to return and face a range of challenges and risks upon return.

Through our projects, partnerships, and advocacy in Central America, KIND aims to ensure children’s rights and protection needs before, during and after their journey to safety.

Our Top Policy Reports

Our Central America Programs

Image of US Mexico and Central America

Central American Minors Application Program

KIND’s Central American Minors (CAM) Application Program provides free assistance to parents and legal guardians in the United States seeking to bring their children to the United States under the CAM program. Through CAM, parents and legal guardians can apply for qualifying children and certain family members in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras to travel to the United States with refugee status.

Group of kids sitting together. Photo by Brett Gundlock

Child Migrant Return and Reintegration Project (CMRRP)

While many unaccompanied children have viable claims for U.S. protection, some children choose to return to their country of origin, and others may be required to return, having been found ineligible for protection. No formal coordination exists for these children to ensure their safety, well-being and care upon return. In addition, children most often return to the conditions that caused them to make the dangerous journey to the United States alone in the first place. KIND’s Child Migrant Return and Reintegration Project (CMRRP) addresses these needs.

Feature Resource

Child Migrant Return and Reintegration Program (CMRRP) Fact Sheet

Learn more about the CMRRP program with our one-page fact sheet.

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Gender and Migration Initiatives

Gender-based violence (GBV) forces many girls and LGBTI children from Central America to flee their countries because they have little to protection or recourse due to near complete impunity for perpetrators. El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have among the highest rates of femicide in the world.

KIND’s Gender and Migration Initiative (GMI) seeks to prevent and address gender-based violence against migrant children. GMI combines research, advocacy, and  works with local organizations to create GBV prevention programming that promote the rights and protection of these children, including survivors of GBV, in all phases of their migration journey.

I can tell a woman that she should report domestic violence, but she will ask me, ‘Who will support me, who will protect me?’ and I can’t answer those questions

Judge, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Feature Resource

Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Fact Sheet

Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) forces many women, girls, and LGBTI persons to flee El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Learn more with the KIND fact sheet.

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photo by Lori Barra of a mother and child

Central American Separated Families Reunification Project

Building on KIND’s relationships in Central America and its CMRRP and GMI programing in Guatemala and Honduras, KIND developed a project to respond to the unique needs of deported separated parents, and children returning to their parents after having been forcibly separated. KIND launched the Central American Separated Families Reunification Project in summer 2018 to provide a transnational response to these complex cases.

KIND's Central American Voices Project 

The stories of the refugee, migrant, and internally displaced teens from Central America in these videos are the stories of thousands of children who have fled their communities and countries to escape extreme violence and to save their lives.  



Get Involved Today

Learn more about how you can help protect children alone as they search for safety.