Transcript of lecture given 28 March 2012

To begin, it is no coincidence that this week a meeting of the Regional Conference on Migration—which brings together countries from Central and North America—is being held in San Jose, Costa Rica. This meeting is specifically titled “Children and adolescents, migration and refugees,” and central to this topic are child trafficking, child-migrant smuggling, the migration of unaccompanied children and other issues associated with migration in transit and destination countries. Although many of the countries participating in this conference are countries of origin of migration, the plight of those “left behind” in their home communities is not part of the agenda.

Likewise, if you run a search for information on ‘children left behind’ and ‘migration,’ you will find that, at least in the Latin American region, the subject has not been widely researched, and existing analyses are done along the same lines as migration; that is, it is analyzed from the perspective of movements among countries of transit and destination without taking the countries of origin into consideration. This is not surprising considering that the more developed the destination site is (where more employment sources and access to other services exist), the more relevant the migration paths leading there (mainly international ones) will be, with home communities remaining less visible, and often forgotten. In other words, to talk about the children left behind is a challenge and will remain so until the issue is placed squarely in the debate about migration.


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