‘Migrating Alone’: perspectives and challenges of unaccompanied child migration to Europe, UNESCO


The decision to abandon home and country takes on a new dimension when those involved are children


‘Migrating Alone: Unaccompanied and Separated Children’s Migration to Europe’

UNESCO Publishing
Edited by Jyothi Kanics, Daniel Senovilla Hernández and Kristina Touzenis


03 February 2011. The planned, forced or spontaneous decision to abandon home and country takes on a new dimension when those involved in the migration adventure are just in their teens.

Despite common features and many links with the migration of adults, the independent migration of children has emerged as a specific phenomenon all over the world. Since the early 1990s, most European countries have notably been destination and/or transit points for such young migrants.

Faced with the migration of unaccompanied and separated children, European national government policies do not always coincide with the legal instruments (national or international) created for the care of children ‘in need’ regardless of origin or nationality.

Child migrants tend to be considered migrants before they are considered children, whereas international legal protection standards for children are far better than those concerning migrants.

UNESCO released a publication entitled “Migrating alone: unaccompanied and separated children’s migration to Europe,” in December 2010, scrutinizing perspectives and challenges on the subject .

The essays that make up this over 200 page book tackle the issue of child migration from legal, sociological and anthropological perspectives, examining the reception systems established for child migrants and asylum-seekers in Europe (‘Between Care and Migration Control’) and the social contexts in their countries of origin (‘Factors Pushing Children to Independent Migration’).

Special focus is given to the cases of Moroccan unaccompanied children in Italy; the international migration of children from rural north-east Albania; the migration of unaccompanied and separated Senegalese children to Spain.

The publication is available for purchase on the UNESCO Publishing Website in the Social Sciences Studies series. Click here to be directed to the UNESCO website.


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