(Bloomberg) -- Child migration through the Darien gap has increased by 40% so far this year and is set to hit a record for the fifth straight year, a United Nations agency reported Wednesday.

As many as 160,000 children could make the dangerous jungle crossing between Colombia and Panama this year, compared to 113,000 in 2023, according to estimates from Unicef, an unit overseeing children’s rights at the UN. 

Record flows of migrants have overwhelmed the southern US border, with 800,000 projected to cross by the end of the year — a fifth of them children and adolescents, mostly led by Venezuelan migrants. 

Restrictions on movement from South American countries to Mexico and Central America have contributed to an increased number of crossings, exposing migrants to sexual assault and abuse by organized crime. Panama’s newly-elected leader, Jose Raul Mulino, has pledged to shut down his nation’s migration routes to the US. 

The migrant surge comes at a critical time for funding, said Unicef, which has only received 10% of the $7.6 million in funds it pledged to aid migrants in their journey. 

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