UNICEF warns of physical, sexual ‘abuse & exploitation’ for child refugees en route to Europe
At least nine out of 10 child refugees arriving in Europe through Italy this year are unaccompanied, UNICEF says in a new report. The organization told RT that minors go through “various forms of abuse and exploitation” on their perilous way to Europe.
UNICEF said in its report, entitled ‘Danger Every Step of the Way’, that “some 7,009 unaccompanied children made the crossing from North Africa to Italy in the first five months of 2016, twice as many as last year.” Most of them are forced to rely on human smugglers, often under the so-called ‘pay-as-you-go’ system, according to UNICEF.
“They come on an extraordinarily arduous journey. Sometimes it takes months and even years for them to reach Europe,” UNICEF spokesperson Sarah Crowe told RT.
“And the stories that they have told us are really quite striking. The children have gone through various forms of abuse and exploitation at the hands of smugglers and traffickers very often.”