Moises Sanchez (centre), 20, talks to a UNHCR protection officer while his brothers, Anderson, 17, and Jairo, 14, listen on the porch of their apartment in Tapachula, southwest Mexico, close to the border with Guatemala.
Background: The Sanchez brothers’ family had a comfortable life running a shop in El Salvador until a gang threatened them with extortion — demanding monthly rent or violence towards the family. When the gang tried to force the middle brother, Anderson, to join them, the boys fled with their father, who later abandoned them in Mexico.
In 2015, 110,000 people escaped the Northern Triangle to seek asylum in Mexico or elsewhere. Severing family and community ties is heart-wrenching and risky, especially for children and young adults, but many feel they have no other option. Young people face the increased risk of exploitation from people-smugglers and the dangers of encountering robbers or sexual abusers along the way.