UNICEF: Unaccompanied minors increasing among refugees
Among the asylum-seekers traveling from Africa to Italy by sea there have been 7 009 unaccompanied minors so far this year. That is double the number of children who traveled alone last year.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) announced the news on 14 June, warning that these children face exceptional risks that include abuse, violence and death. As of 5 June a total of 2 809 refugees have perished at sea this year; the total number of refugee deaths at sea in 2015 was 3 770.
Unaccompanied minors are at the mercy of their smugglers who, according to UNICEF, frequently want the children to perform various services in advance of and during the journey. "If you try to flee the smugglers, they will shoot you and you will die. If you refuse to do the work, they beat you. It was like the slave trade," the UNICEF report quotes 16-year-old Aimamoa as saying, a boy who had to work with his brother in Libya on a farm for two months to make money for the smugglers.
"Once I took a break for five minutes and a man beat me with a stick. When the work day was over they would lock us up," the boy said.
Italian social workers report that both boys and girls are being sexually abused under these conditions. In Libya they are being forced into prostitution and some of the female unaccompanied minors arriving in Italy are pregnant as a result of this abuse.
Precise data do not exist about refugee abuses, deaths, or disappearances. "This is a desperate but quiet situation - these children are invisible, nobody knows about them. Thousands of children are being exposed on a daily basis to danger, and hundreds of thousands more are prepared to risk everything. It is urgently necessary to protect these children from all forms of abuse and violence," said Marie-Pierre Poirier, the UNICEF Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe.
UNICEF is concerned that this summer the number of minors heading to Europe by sea will grow. In Libya more than 230 000 refugees are waiting to travel to Europe, including tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors.
- UK: MP Cox, who opposed "Brexit" and supported refugee reception, has been murdered
- Czech Republic: Another TV Prima insider comes forward, says producers want "only negative voices" from interviews on refugees
- Czech Republic: Anti-refugee hoax online after gas station attendants mistake Roma from Slovakia for "refugees"
- New UNICEF report condemns German policy of deporting Roma children
- Rebecca Covaciu, 12-year-old Roma girl, winner of the 2008 Unicef Prize, assaulted in Milan
- UNICEF about the situation of Roma Children in South East Europe
- Polish Defense Ministry: Belarus has been holding up to 300 migrants on the border and forcing them to attack Polish soldiers
- Belarusian totalitarian regime continues to exploit defenseless refugees in its anti-EU hybrid war, bringing 500 to Lithuanian border
- Belarusian military push refugees, including children, into Poland, Polish military sprays them with tear gas
- Belarusian-Polish border is now a death zone where refugees including young children are dying of cold, hunger and thirst
- Czech court to hear appeal in case of brutal assault by non-Romani adults on Romani children in Lipník nad Bečvou
- Czech Bar Association reprimands attorney for approving of "joke" calling for the gassing of non-white first-graders, he appeals
- Czech MPs abolish infant institutions and raise remuneration for foster parents, bill now heads to Senate
- Czech Labor and Social Affairs Ministry reports that 53 % of under-threes in infant facilities are Romani
- Ladislav Samek: It is hard to get rid of the label of "institutionalized child" in Czech society
- Renata Berkyová: "Ferigate" has revealed how Czech society approaches sexual harassment
- Slovak public broadcasting continuing children's television program in Romanes and Slovak
- European Court of Human Rights finds Slovakia failed to properly investigate police brutality against Romani children