Caritas and Child Migration
A child moving away from home alone to find work or to escape conflict is not a new phenomenon. But the number of lone child migrants and the complex threats they face are increasing. Caritas is worried on their behalf. They are in great danger, in many cases facing intense psychological pressure to succeed and to provide for their families back home.
Child migrants must navigate an unfamiliar country, language, and culture by themselves. Often they do now know their rights or the true extent of the risk of abduction and abuse which they face. They can be exploited, underpaid and underfed and rarely have a chance to go to school or to play. Organized criminal gangs can menace their lives, and those of their families back home.
Caritas organisations work to make sure these children can get help. They offer safe places to stay, with medical assistance and learning opportunities. They try to reunite children with their families.
Caritas also advocates and campaigns on behalf of child migrants – calling on governments not to detain them as illegal aliens in prison-like conditions intended for the adults they are not. Caritas insists they are treated as children under the law.
Caritas updates on Child Migration
The most vulnerable to slavery conditions are those who, due to poverty, lack of other possibilities or indebtedness, accept irregular work and fall prey to traffickers who severely exploit them and make it impossible for them to leave.
Caritas gets a large number of children into basic schooling and a small group of adolescents into a vocational college where they can learn a trade.
“Governments, employers and consumers need to send a clear signal that trafficking will not be tolerated. The life of Josephine Bakhita inspires us to step up our actions on ending this crime.”
Caritas urges governments to prioritise the needs of unaccompanied migrant children on World Migrant Day and to increase employment opportunities in home countries for young people.
On the 25th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) on 20 November, Caritas Internationalis says more must be done to protect child migrants, especially those travelling alone. Caritas calls on governments to greater defend their rights by applying key laws as set out in the convention.
In some parts of the world, war, violence, poverty and abuse mean that children aren’t safe in their homes. Many of them leave, either with their parents or alone, in hope of finding a place to live which is safer and where they can flourish.