Women fleeing gangs in Central America fuel new refugee crisis

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Sulma Ortega and her family were victimized by the MS-13 drug cartel in Guatemala and granted asylum in Mexico. But they have received no help from the Mexican government to rebuild their lives there, and they are now looking to reach the US. Photo: Amy Stillman/IRIN

The number of women in Central America and Mexico fleeing gang violence is rising at an alarming rate, fuelling a new refugee crisis in the region.

That's the conclusion of a new report from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), called "Women on the Run".

In early 2014, thousands of children escaping gang violence in Central America sparked a refugee crisis on the US border, prompting a heated debate over immigration.

Now, the UNHCR commissioner, António Guterres, is calling on the US and other governments in the region to work together to protect the thousands of women, running for their lives.

Matthew Wells spoke to the UNHCR's Karin de Gruijl.

Duration: 2’27″

Filed under Today's Features.
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