A recent report “Alone and unsafe: Children, migration, and sexual and gender-based violence”, by the IFRC (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) states that the number of children fleeing conflict alone has increased since 2012. The risks of this has also increased, such as human trafficking, sexual exploitation and abuse.
The number of refugee children has increased by 500% since 2012 and around 300,000 were travelling by themselves in 2017.
Not only are these children feeling instability, but in the process, they are susceptible to sexual and gender-based abuse, including harassment, trafficking and exploitation.
These children are also at risk of “survival sex”, an exchange of sexual favours for food, safety and other necessities for survival.
Even when children survive the dangerous journey to a country of refuge, they are still vulnerable to abuse.
They are forced into cramped spaces with adults and have limited access to security facilities.
As a response, the IFRC has urged for the establishment of support centres, communication with children to understand their situations and for the training of individuals who may come across refugee children travelling alone.
With these measures in place, children fleeing crises on their own will be better protected and have access to rehabilitation centres. In addition to this, there will be a better awareness of the situation, people working at borders and in the transportation sector will be able to help children travelling alone.
The report is linked below: