Children uprooted

Stand with refugee and migrant children

for you

© UNICEF/UN062484/Georgiev

Millions of children are on the move across international borders – fleeing violence and conflict, disaster or poverty, in pursuit of a better life.

The global number of refugee and migrant children moving alone has reached a record high. At least 300,000 unaccompanied and separated children were recorded in some 80 countries in 2015–2016, up from 66,000 in 2010–2011.

Hundreds of thousands move on their own. When they can’t find opportunities to move legally, children resort to dangerous routes and engage smugglers to help them cross borders.

Serious gaps in the laws, policies and services meant to protect children on the move leave refugee and migrant children bereft of protection and care.

Deprived, unprotected and often alone, children on the move can become easy prey for traffickers and others who abuse and exploit them.

The current system is failing refugee and migrant children. States have a responsibility to uphold their rights and protect all children within their borders, without exception.

A child is a child. It is now time to act.

Fast facts

unaccompanied and separated children moving across borders were registered in 80 countries in 2015–16. Up from 66,000 in 2010–2011.

of children who arrived to Italy by sea in 2016 were unaccompanied. Up from 75% in 2015.



unaccompanied children were apprehended at the Mexico–United States border in 2015 and 2016.

of children who arrived in Italy reported experiences such as being held against their will or being forced to work without pay.


Agenda for Action

UNICEF is calling for a six-point plan to keep refugee and migrant children safe


Protect uprooted children from exploitation and violence


End the detention of refugee and migrant children by creating practical alternatives


Keep families together and give children legal status



Help uprooted children stay in school and stay healthy


Press for action on the causes that uproot children from their homes


Combat xenophobia and discrimination

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