Refugee children traveling alone increased five-fold since 2010: UN
UNITED NATIONS, May 18 (Xinhua) -- The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has reported that at least 300,000 children were unaccompanied or separated from their families while on the move during the years of 2015 and 2016, said a spokesperson here on Thursday.
According to a UNICEF's latest report, the global number of refugee and migrant children moving alone has reached a record high, increasing nearly five-fold from the number of 66,000 in 2010, UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told a daily briefing.
The report warns that these children are taking highly dangerous routes to reach their destinations, and during the journeys, they might be trafficked or exploited.
The report illustrated that over three-quarters of 1,600 children aged 14-17 who arrived in Italy via the Central Mediterranean route reported such bad experiences as being held against their will or being forced to work without pay.
"Ruthless smugglers and traffickers are exploiting their vulnerability for personal gain, helping children to cross borders, only to sell them into slavery and forced prostitution. It is unconscionable that we are not adequately defending children from these predators," said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Justin Forsyth.
Therefore, UNICEF is calling for stronger policies to prevent children from being separated from their parents and other family members in transit and faster procedures to reunite children with their families in destination countries.[ Editor: meng ]