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Traffickers and smugglers exploit record rise in unaccompanied child refugees

Categories: Articles:Social Justice | Published: 18/05/2017 | Views: 311

Slavery and prostitution among horrors faced by child refugees and migrants after fivefold increase in number of lone minors crossing borders since 2010-11



A record increase in the number of refugee and migrant children travelling alone has left many exposed to sexual abuse and exploitation at the hands of traffickers and opportunists.

At least 300,000 unaccompanied and separated children were recorded in 80 countries in 2015-16, a rise of almost 500% on the 66,000 documented in 2010-2011, according to a Unicef report published on Wednesday.

The central Mediterranean passage is one of several migration routes identified as particularly dangerous for children. More than 75% of the 1,600 14- to 17-year-olds who arrived in Italy reported being held against their will or forced to work.

“One child moving alone is one too many and yet, today, there are a staggering number of children doing just that – we as adults are failing to protect them,” said Unicef’s deputy executive director, Justin Forsyth.

“Ruthless smugglers and traffickers are exploiting their vulnerability for personal gain, helping children to cross borders, only to sell them into slavery and forced prostitution. It is unconscionable that we are not adequately defending children from these predators.”  Read more
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