78 17 ISSN 2415-1653 Issue No. 10, November 2017 Child Migrants: How .

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GLOBAL MIGRATIONDATA ANALYSIS CENTRED A T AB R I E F I N GS E R I E SISSN 2415-165378 17 Issue No. 10, November 2017Child migrants: How little we knowKey findings One-quarter of the million migrants arriving by sea to Italy and Greece in 2015 were children: 94 per cent of those (235,500)arrived in Greece, of whom 10 per cent were unaccompanied. Of the 16,500 children who arrived in Italy, 72 per cent wereunaccompanied. The number of children applying for asylum in Europe in 2016 was 10 times the same number in 2008. Children whomigrate – be it alone or with family members – but do not seek asylum are unlikely to appear in official statistics. Existing estimates suggest that the number of children who arrived in Europe unaccompanied and did not seek asylum in2013 may have been as high as the number of those who did apply for protection. Data on child migrants are crucial to identify and address their needs, but currently present serious limitations: thereare gaps related to child migrants moving irregularly, risks of double-counting across countries or local administrations,and differences in definitions and methodologies used for data collection across European Union Member States, whichhamper comparability. An estimated 10,000 unaccompanied children were missing in the European Union after having applied for asylum in aEuropean Union Member State in 2016. It is unclear how many of these children may have ended up being exploited, ormay have left their assigned guardians or facilities to join relatives elsewhere or find employment. More detailed, accessible and disaggregated data on child migrants, their profiles, reasons and intentions are necessaryto ensure their protection, access to services and the fufilment of their best interest. An initiative is ongoing to includechildren in the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration and the global compact on refugees.Unaccompanied children applyingfor asylum in the European Union, 2015Child migrants: How little we knowIrregular sea arrivals of children to EuropeMore than 250,000 children arrived by sea to Greece and Italy in 0 child migrantsGreece235,500 child migrants12,7751,321,60012,770In 2013, an es mated 12,770children arrived unaccompaniedin Europe and did not apply forasylum – almost equal to thenumber of children who arrivedand applied for asylum (12,775).Total numberof iedchildren, i.e. childrenarriving aloneUnaccompaniedchildren applyingfor asylumSeparated children,i.e. children who arrivewith non-familymember adultsAll asylumapplicationslodged bychildrenDependants, i.e.children arrivingwith adults626,95023,150Es mated 10,000“missing child migrants”across the EuropeanUnionChild migrants include:Source: UK House of Lords, 2016, based on data from Italian and Greek na onal authori es.Applying for asylum inthe Europen Union13%Source: Eurostat, 2016.

2Child migrants: How little we knowThe number of children seeking asylum in Europeincreased tenfold between 2008 and 2016 (UNICEF,2017). These children are part of the population of under18-year-olds migrating to Europe for reasons rangingfrom accompanying parents headed to a new job toentering irregularly, and perhaps exploited by traffickersand invisible to the community. Few of those childrenwho migrate but do not seek asylum are counted. Yet,strong data are essential for understanding the situationof child migrants and addressing their needs. Foremostamong these is their need for protection as refugeesand displaced persons, and above all, their needs aschildren.UNICEF notes the severe limitations of data on migrantchildren (2017). Current data come from administrativerecords, census documents, registers and surveys.However, these are incomplete; often do not capturepeople whose movements are irregular, sometimesinvolve multiple reporting of the same individualswhether in one jurisdiction or several; and in the caseof unaccompanied children, sometimes do not clearlyidentify them, in an effort to protect their identities. It isalso difficult to obtain a clear regional European pictureor a cross-country comparison, when definitions andmethods of gathering information can differ widely. Theonly requirement for European Union countries is toprovide data on unaccompanied children applying forprotection (European Commission, 2010).The United Kingdom House of Lords committee reporton “Children in crisis” (2016:8) puts the situation starklynoting “the near unanimity among our witnesses thatthe data on unaccompanied migrant children in theEU were fragmented and poorly disaggregated”. Thisproblem is compounded by, and contributes to doublecounting (House of Lords, 2016:60). Double countingoccurs when local authorities collect data, and childrenare moved and counted in more than one municipality(Sigona and Humphris, 2017). Different organizationsuse different definitions and methods to count children.Therefore, there is no systematic collection of datathat can then be usefully disaggregated to provide theevidence needed for coherent policymaking. Yet policieson migrant children are ones that will impact not onlytheir young lives, but also the communities around themin Europe and the families they may have left behind,as these children grow into young adults, and economicactors in aging societies.GLOBAL MIGRATION DATA ANALYSIS CENTREIssue No. 10, November 2017WHO ARE CHILD MIGRANTS?Child migrants, as a distinct group with rights andneeds that are not always covered by the categoriesof “child” or “migrant” alone, are all but invisible indata and in policy approaches. Attention is paid totwo sub-groups, among them – “unaccompaniedchildren” and “separated children”. Children arrivingin Europe with adults, particularly if they arrive as afamily, are often simply “dependants”, whose statusand entitlements rest on the categories into whichtheir parents or guardians fall. Those children arrivingalone or accompanied by an adult who do not enter anasylum claim, or who do not enter European countrieswith a visa and regulated stay, seem to be invisible todata collection. For example, estimates for 2013 showthat an approximately equal number of children arrivedunaccompanied and did not apply for asylum (12,770) asarrived and applied for protection (12,775).1 There arealso claims of an estimated 10,000 “missing children”across the European Union who submitted asylumapplications as unaccompanied children in a EuropeanUnion Member State, but, according to Europol, cannotbe found because they have left their assigned guardiansor facilities (House of Lords, 2016:55). While the mediaand some non-governmental organizations concludethat these children are being exploited by criminalgangs, and some almost certainly are, researchers pointout that some of them might simply be miscounted,have left State-appointed guardians to join extendedfamily members of their choice, or tried find their ownways to make money to send home (Sigona and Allsopp,2016). We simply do not know.The issue of child migrants has been thrust into greaterfocus by the magnitude of their movement during 2015–2017. These children, “many of them unaccompaniedby a parent, relative or guardian are in the forefront of[the refugee] crisis” (House of Lords, 2016:8).1 Estimate attributed to the European Council for Refugees andExiles, in evidence from the European Commission, presented tothe United Kingdom House of Lords committee, 2016.Data Briefing Series

Child migrants: How little we knowIssue No. 10, November 2017SEPARATED CHILDREN3HOW CHILDREN ARRIVE: WHERE THEY COMEFROM AND THE ROUTES THEY TAKEChildren who arrive with non-family member adults areconsidered to be “separated children” (European UnionAgency for Fundamental Rights, 2016). Their needs canfall between the gaps: not being “unaccompanied”, itmight be presumed that any adult with them will takecare of them, yet those individuals might not be willingor able to do so. In fact, there are occasions on whichthe accompanying adult is a trafficker, for example, or anabusive relative from whom guardianship and good carecannot be anticipated. In other instances, siblings mighttravel together, but the age difference can mean that anolder brother or sister is treated as a regular adult asylumseeker, while a younger sibling is assigned a guardian orspecial accommodation for unaccompanied children.By failing to clearly categorize children, States missopportunities to assist them, establish the substanceof their migration story and act in such a way that theyaccomplish what is in the best interest of the child.The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rightsnotes that of the 14 Member States studied in its 2016thematic paper on separated children, “not one wasable to provide official information on the number andprofile of children arriving in Europe accompanied by anadult who is neither parent or guardian” (2016:3). Whilemost Member States register unaccompanied children,none register children separated from their parents butarriving or travelling with another adult. Only Swedengives a minor nod to the specific situation of thosechildren travelling with adults, as children are registeredas individuals who are part of a family group, rather thanas family members or unaccompanied (ibid., 4).Arrivals of unaccompanied and separated children,based on available data, differ depending on themigration route. Sigona and Humphris (2016) point outthat approximately one quarter of the million migrantsarriving by sea in Greece and Italy in 2015 were children.Of these children, 94 per cent arrived in Greece. Of those235,500 children, about 10 per cent (or 23,550) wereunaccompanied. Of the 16,500 children who arrived inItaly, 72 per cent (almost 12,000) were unaccompanied.Simona and Humphris’ analysis shows that children fromEgypt and the Gambia almost always travelled alone,whereas the vast majority of Syrian children travelledwith their families. Similarly, Afghan children, the secondlargest group by arrival in Greece, are much more likelyto have travelled alone than Syrian children. The datatell us this much and gives rise to many questions: Whatmakes the difference? Is it cultural? Does the fact thatfamilies of Syrians are travelling together say somethingabout their protection needs? Is proximity the issue?Existing data are relatively inaccessible because offragmentation. One issue is that the definitions of“unaccompanied child” or “separated child” differbetween Member States, largely because their policiestowards these individuals are so different.Unaccompfor asylumChild migrants: How little we knowIrregular sea arrivals of children to EuropeMore than 250,000 children arrived by sea to Greece and Italy in 0 child migrantsGreece235,500 child migrantsChild migraSource: UK House of Lords, 2016, based on data from Italian and Greek na onal authori es.Applying for asylum intheEuropen UnionData Briefing Series12,770Total numberof asylumGLOBAL MIGRATIONDATA ANALYSIS CENTRE1,321,600applicationsUnaccompanied

4Child migrants: How little we knowIssue No. 10, November 2017UNACCOMPANIED CHILD ASYLUM SEEKERSAccording to a report by the European MigrationNetwork (EMN) (2015:9), in 2014, 86 per cent of theunaccompanied children seeking asylum were boys, andEurostat (2016) data for 2015 show some 88,26565 per cent of the total were aged 16–17. This meansunaccompanied children applied for asylum in thethat a significant proportion of these unaccompaniedEuropean Union. These made up 23 per cent of allchildren were approaching the age of majority, atasylum applications lodged by children that year,which point the protections afforded to them, and themeaning that almost 300,000 asylum applications wererange of their rights and needs for support, educationreceived from children who entered the European Unionand guardianship, would change. For this reason, ageas part of a family or accompanied by adults other thantesting becomes an important part of States’ approachtheir parents (ibid.). Considering that 1,321,600 asylumto unaccompanied children seeking asylum. This isapplications were lodged in the European Union in 2015,carried out widely, although methods are discredited asapplications from unaccompanied children constitutedif not inaccurate (House of Lords, 2016:16), and6.7 per cent Childof the total(House of HowLords, 2016).Unaccompmigrants:littleThiswewasknow imprecisecontributes to the broad view of a “culture of disbelief”a significant rise over the previous year, when 23,150for asylumIrregularsea arrivalschildrento Europethat prevails in the handling of unaccompanied childunaccompaniedchildrenappliedofforasylumin theMore(ibid.,than 250,000childrenby seato Greeceasylumand Italyin 2015.seekersin particular.European Union8), makingup 3.7arrivedper centof the91%total (626,950).This data also demonstrates the difficulties offragmentation, lack of disaggregation or changes inEurostat (2016) uses a broad definition forthe way statistics are produced from year to year; forunaccompanied children seeking protection, based oninstance, it is hard to compare yearly data when one hasthe definition used by the European Commission and indata on how many under-14s requestCouncil documents. Statistics72% show some anomalies, for10% asylum one year,and how many unaccompaniedchildren aged 16–17 theexample, there are significantunaccom-outliers both in terms ofunaccomnext.paniedgender and of age at thepaniedtime of application, which giverise to questions about why particular Member Stateswould show such different data/information,and alsoItaly Greecequestions data collection and reporting.Child migr16,500 child migrants235,500 child migrantsSource: UK House of Lords, 2016, based on data from Italian and Greek na onal authori es.Applying for asylum inthe Europen Union12,7751,321,600Unaccompaniedchildren applyingfor asylum12,770In 2013, an es mated 12,770children arrived unaccompaniedin Europe and did not apply forasylum – almost equal to thenumber of children who arrivedand applied for asylum (12,775).626,95023,15088,5473.7%6.7%2014GLOBAL MIGRATION DATA ANALYSIS CENTRETotal numberof asylumapplicationsAll asylumapplicationslodged bychildren2015Source: Eurostat, 2016.Data Briefing Series

Child migrants: How little we knowIssue No. 10, November 2017Unaccompanied children applyingfor asylum in the European Union, 201591%13%Es mated 10,000“missing child migrants”across the EuropeanUnionChild migrants include:ri es.Unaccompaniedchildren, i.e. childrenarriving aloneerSeparated children,i.e. children who arrivewith non-familymember adultsaniedplyingDependants, i.e.children arrivingwith adults2016.5unknown (2015:12). The two main motives appear to besecurity and economic or educational aspirations, butthey can also include domestic violence, the recruitmentof child soldiers and forced marriages. In addition,children arriving in a specific intended destination mightbe seeking extended family reunification, for examplewith cousins or aunts and uncles, or might be seeking tojoin a diaspora community. They could also be hoping toadvance educational or economic aspirations that theybelieve can best be fulfilled in a particular place. However,there is little or no solid data on these intentions, so thedebate, and therefore policies, targeting the movementof unaccompanied and separated children are based onpresumptions or extrapolated hunches.There is some concern that families might send anunaccompanied child ahead as an “anchor” to enablefamily reunification in the future. The United Kingdomlimits family reunification for this reason – not allowingparents to rejoin children who arrived alone. However,there are no data to show how often a family mayhave engaged in this strategy, or whether children aresimply sent first to seek safety and opportunities whenresources will not allow a whole family to move. Infact, available evidence from European Union MemberStates following the family reunification directiveand permitting such movements suggests that manychildren do not seek for families to join them, often outof concerns for the safety of those family members,particularly in terms of them being singled out byauthorities prior to any potential departure (see Houseof Lords, 2016:20–21).NO CHILD LEFT BEHINDWHY DO CHILDREN MIGRATE?Robust data of not only the demographics of childmigrants, but also their motives in moving wouldbe useful in crafting policies targeted at the rootcauses of child migration, including the movement ofunaccompanied children seeking asylum and separatedchildren who are part of protection applications. The2015 EMN report synthesizing national approaches tothe movement of unaccompanied children notes thatthe motives for these children’s migration are oftenData Briefing SeriesAn initiative is underway to explicitly include children inthe global compact for safe, orderly and regular migrationand the global compact on refugees, highlightingthe need to respect their rights, ensure protectionand access to services, and act in their best interests(Bhabha and Dottridge, 2017; Initiative for Child Rights,2017). In order for those goals to be achieved, there isa need for more detailed, accessible and disaggregateddata on child migrants, where they are coming fromand intending to go, who they are with or why they arealone, and the reasons for their migration.GLOBAL MIGRATION DATA ANALYSIS CENTRE

6Child migrants: How little we knowREFERENCESBhabha, J. and M. Dottridge2017 Child Rights in the Global Compacts:Recommendations for protecting, promotingand implementing the human rights ofchildren on the move in the proposed GlobalCompacts. Working document. Available 017/02/Working-document-29June-2017.pdfEuropean Commission2010 Communication from the Commission to theEuropean Parliament and the Council of 6 May2010: Action Plan on Unaccompanied Minors(2010 – 2014). COM (2010) 213 final. Brussels.European Migration Network (EMN)2015 Policies, Practices and Data on UnaccompaniedMinors in the EU Member States and Norway.Synthesis Report for the EMN Focused Study2014. Available from s/files/whatwe-do/networks/european migrationnetwork/reports/docs/emn-studies/emn study policies practices and dataon unaccompanied minors in the eumember states and norway synthesisreport final eu 2015.pdfEuropean Union Agency for Fundamental Rights2016 Current migration situation in the EU:Separated children. European Union Agencyfor Fundamental Rights. Vienna. Available fromhttp://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2016/d e c e m b e r- m o n t h l y - m i g r a t i o n - f o c u s separated-childrenEurostat2016 Asylum applicants considered to beunaccompanied minors. Almost 90 000unaccompanied minors among asylum seekersregistered in the EU in 2015: Slightly morethan half are Afghans. Press release, 2 May.Available from 4677/3-02052016AP-EN.pdf/GLOBAL MIGRATION DATA ANALYSIS CENTREIssue No. 10, November 2017House of Lords2016 Children in crisis: Unaccompanied migrantchildren in the EU, HL Paper 34. Availablefrom elect/ldeucom/34/34.pdfHumphris, R. and N. Sigona2016 Children and unsafe migration in Europe: Dataand policy, understanding the evidence base.International Organization for Migration –Global Migration Data Analysis Centre DataBriefing Series No.5. Available from a briefing series issue5.pdfInitiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts2017 Homepage.Availablefromwww.childrenonthemove.org/ (accessed October2017).Sigona, N. and J. Allsopp2016 Mind the gap: Why are unaccompaniedchildren disappearing in their thousands?,openDemocracy, 22 February. Available en-disappearing-inthousSigona, N. and R. Humphris2017 Child mobility in the EU’s refugee crisis: Whatare the data gaps and why do they matter?Faculty of Law, University of Oxford blog, 23January. Available from child-mobility-euUNICEF2017 A child is a child: Protecting children on themove from violence, abuse and exploitation.UNICEF, New York. Available from /UNICEF A child is a child May 2017EN.pdfData Briefing Series

Child migrants: How little we knowIssue No. 10, November 20177AboutGMDACIn response to growing calls for better data on migration, and better use and presentation of migration data, IOMhas created a Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC). Located in the heart of Berlin, Germany, the Centreaims to provide authoritative and timely analysis of data on global migration issues as a global hub for data andstatistics on migration.Data Briefing SeriesThe GMDAC Data Briefing Series aims to explain what lies behind the numbers and the data used in migrationpolicy and public debates. The Briefings explain what “the numbers” indicate about movements of migrants,refugees and asylum-seekers, on a range of topics for policy across the globe.The way data are presented has an important influence on public perceptions of migration in Europe and thedevelopment of policy. The series will serve to clarify, explain and exchange specialist knowledge in an accessibleformat for wider public and policy audiences, for capacity-building and evidence for policy. Briefings will be ofinterest to expert, as well as lay audiences, including journalists, students, local authority and city planners andlawyers.AuthorDr Joanne van Selm, Associate Director of Research at EurasylumCONTACT INFORMATIONFor more information about the Data Briefing Series,please contact the editor:Frank LaczkoDirector of GMDACTel.: 49 30 278 778 23E-mail: flaczko@iom.intGlobal Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC)International Organization for Migration (IOM)Taubenstr. 20-22 D- 10117 Berlin, GermanyTel.: 49 30 278 778 22Fax: 49 30 278 778 99Please visit the GMDAC website for publications,resources, and events: http://gmdac.iom.intThis project is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID);however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK Government’s position.The opinions expressed in this briefing are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout the briefing do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of IOMconcerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning its frontiers and boundaries.IOM Headquarters17 route des Morillons, P.O. Box 17, 1211 Geneva 19, SwitzerlandTel.: 41 22 717 9111 Fax: 41 22 798 6150 E-mail: hq@iom.int Website: www.iom.intData Briefing SeriesGLOBAL MIGRATION DATA ANALYSIS CENTRE

235,500 child migrants Italy 16,500 child migrants Child migrants: How little we know Unaccompanied children, i.e. children arriving alone Es mated 10,000 "missing child migrants" across the European Union Separated children, i.e. children who arrive with non-family member adults D ep nda ts, i . ch ildren arriv ng wi th adul s

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