UNHCR, UNICEF and IOM publish factsheet about trends regarding refugee and migrant children in the EU in 2016

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


Between 1 January and 31 December 2016, 100,264 children arrived in Greece, Italy, Spain and Bulgaria, of whom 33,806 (34%) were unaccompanied or separated children (UASC).

Key facts recorded from surveys upon arrival to Europe through the Eastern and Central Mediterranean routes are the following:

  • Reasons for Leaving: Refugee and migrant children, on the Eastern Mediterranean Route, reported having left their countries of origin or habitual residence due to war, conflict or political reasons (84%); due to economic reasons (14%) and limited access to basic services or other reasons (2%), while on the Central Mediterranean Route, reported reasons were war and conflict (63%), economic reasons (20%) and limited access to basic services (14%).
  • Length of Journey: Afghan UASC who travelled through the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey spent an average of 7 months on their journey. On the Central Mediterranean Route, refugee and migrant children have travelled for more than 5 months on average, with 27% of them having spent in transit between 6 months and 1 year.
  • Education and work: A profiling exercise of Afghan UASC in Sweden reported that most UASC had completed primary school, while two thirds had worked for an average of ten months in the past year, which had prevented them from attending school.
  • Family situation: Most of the Afghan UASC interviewed in Sweden lived with their nuclear family prior to embarking on their journey. However, those interviewed often reported that one of their parents, or habitual care-givers were missing (deceased or unknown location).
  • Safety and Security en route: On both routes, the most common alleged protection incidents witnessed or experienced by respondents, including children, were violence and emotional abuse committed by third parties (smugglers, local police, other travellers), arduous routes, detention or being kept against their will by persons other than the authorities.

The current factsheet was produced with the aim to support evidence-based decision-making and advocacy on issues related to refugee and migrant children.

For further information or any questions concerning this factsheet please contact: dtmsupport@iom.int

For information on migration flows please visit the following website: http://migration.iom.int