Global & Disaster Medicine

UNICEF’s six-point agenda for action to keep refugee and migrant children safe.


This joint report from UNICEF and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) explores in detail survey data from the Central and Eastern Mediterranean Sea routes to Europe, focusing on adolescents and youth on the move from Africa and Asia. The analysis reveals staggering rates of trafficking and exploitation, and also points to the xenophobia and racism that make young refugees and migrants − especially those from sub-Saharan Africa − vulnerable

“We risked our lives to come here,” says 17-year-old Mohammad, who travelled through Libya to seek asylum in Italy. “We crossed a sea. We knew it is not safe, so we sacrificed. We do it, or we die.”

Some of the world’s most dangerous migration routes cross the Mediterranean Sea – a major pathway to Europe for migrants and refugees from Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Up to three-quarters of children and youth face abuse, exploitation and trafficking on these migration routes. Some are more vulnerable than others: those travelling alone, those with low levels of education and those undertaking longer journeys.

Most vulnerable of all are those who, like Mohammad, come from sub-Saharan Africa.

These findings come from a new UNICEF and International Organization for Migration report Harrowing Journeys: Children and youth on the move across the Mediterranean Sea, at risk of trafficking and exploitation.

As the world continues to grapple with the reality of migration and displacement, the report’s findings underscore the urgent need for action to protect the most vulnerable among those on the move.

Uprooted adolescents and youth facts

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