Language document


01 Sep 2017

Type of document




Harrowing Journeys: Children and youth on the move across the Mediterranean Sea, at risk of trafficking and exploitation


01 Sep 2017


Report by UNICEF and International Organization for Migration (IOM)


Summary: "For children and youth on the move via the Mediterranean Sea routes to Europe, the journey is marked by high levels of abuse, trafficking and exploitation. Some are more vulnerable than others: those travelling alone, those with low levels of education and those undertaking longer journeys."


This UNICEF and International Organization for Migration (IOM) analysis gives insight in the journeys of 11,000 migrant and refuge children as recorded in their responses to the Displacement Tracking Matrix Flow Monitoring Surveys conducted by IOM along the Central and Eastern Mediterranean routes to Europe in 2016 and 2017.


Where the analysis reveals that adolescents and youth on the move are more vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation than adults, these risks are particularly high for those who move from sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, it turns out that adolescents and youth who travel alone are also at higher risk of trafficking and exploitation. The analysis also shows that adolescents with lower levels of education are more vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation.


To emphasize the urgent need of action in a world with a growing number of migrants, the following is addressed:





"To protect the most vulnerable among those on the move, UNICEF and IOM call for a multi-pronged strategy that addresses the interplay of factors that expose migrant and refugee children and youth to risk – or help keep them safe. Such a strategy includes expanding safe and regular migration channels to dampen the demand for smugglers, while fighting trafficking and exploitation. To enhance the resilience and protect the rights of children and youth, it entails investing in education and other basic services, coordinating child protection efforts across countries, and fighting racism and xenophobia in the countries migrants and refugees travel through and the ones in which they seek to make their lives."