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.
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Caritas updates on Child Migration
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.
COERR, the Catholic Office for Emergency Relief & Refugees, part of Caritas Thailand, helps about 10,000 of the refugees, working in all 9 camps, where it focuses on children who are living alone, are orphaned, living with relatives or otherwise in a vulnerable positions.
COERR, the Catholic Office for Emergency Relief & Refugees, works in refugee camps along the Thai-Myanmar border. Over 120,000 people from Myanmar live in the camps.
Caritas projects across the world work to ensure the fundamental rights of children are protected so that children can grow and flourish. Even if you take away a child’s voice, you can’t take away their rights.
Antonio Jimenez is an expert on child migration issues who lectures at the Universities of Huelva and Seville in Spain. Here he speaks about what can be done to minimise risks to child migrants in Morocco.