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Mexico Country held 20,000 child migrants in 2015 - authorities

That was double the number of the year before and a sign of the worsening migration crisis in the region.

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A Central American migrant child watches behind the main door of the Bethlehem Shelter in Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico play

A Central American migrant child watches behind the main door of the Bethlehem Shelter in Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico

(AFP/File)

Mexico detained more than 20,000 unaccompanied child migrants, mostly from Central America, in 2015, authorities said on Monday.

That was double the number of the year before and a sign of the worsening migration crisis in the region, where many pass through heading to seek refuge in the United States.

Mexico's National Human Rights Commission said the minors were at risk of kidnapping and rape by criminal gangs or even by corrupt officials.

"The authorities are acting without considering the interests of the children and protecting them," Luis Raul Gonzalez, president of the commission told a news conference, presenting the figures.

He said most of the minors were from the crime- and poverty-plagued Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

"They are held in migrant centers instead of being immediately sent to reception centers where they can receive the assistance and protection they need in accordance with international standards," he said.

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