Bogota, Jul 4 (EFE).- Thirty Chinese migrants trying to reach Panama aboard a flimsy boat were rescued by the Colombian navy off Cabo Tiburon, authorities said Tuesday.
“The vessel was not authorized and did not meet the minimum safety conditions to take to the sea, so it was towed by the sailors to the Uraba Coast Guard Station” in Turbo, the navy said in a statement.
After a medical check, the 26 men and four women were turned over to immigration authorities, while the three Colombian nationals operating the boat will face trafficking charges.
The Darien Gap, an expanse of thick jungle that forms the natural border between Colombia and Panama, was crossed by a record 196,370 undocumented immigrants during the first six months of 2023, nearly four times the number who made the journey during the same period last year, according to Panamanian officials.
In April alone, 40,297 migrants endured the rigors of the Darien in their bid to reach the United States, a more than sixfold increase over the same month in 2022.
Driven by economic and political crises, crime, and the effects of climate change, the flow of migrants is helping to boost the profits of people-trafficking, viewed by some international experts at the most lucrative sector of organized crime. EFE ooe/dr