EYEAFRICA TV: New York, USA: In a new report released by the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF the global number of refugee and migrant children moving alone has reached a record high, increasing nearly five-fold since 2010.
The fund said in the report that at least 300,000 unaccompanied and separated children were recorded in some 80 countries in 2015-2016, up from 66,000 in 2010-2011. The report, titled ‘A Child is a Child: Protecting children on the move from violence, abuse and exploitation,’ it revealed that an increasing number of these children are taking highly dangerous routes, often at the mercy of smugglers and traffickers, to reach their destinations.
UNICEF deputy chief, Justin Forsyth said it was evident from working on the ground in many countries that “there are many children that aren’t counted and therefore, the number of 300,000 which is a five-fold increase is probably the tip of an iceberg.”
The report found that some 200,000 unaccompanied children applied for asylum across 80 countries and some 100,000 were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2015-2016. It also found that 92 percent of all children arriving to Italy were either unaccompanied or separated.
It noted that children account for approximately 28 percent of trafficking victims globally with Sub-Saharan Africa and Central America and the Caribbean accounting for the highest share of children among detected trafficking victims at 64 and 62 percent respectively.