A new report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reveals that the number of refugee and migrant children travelling alone has reached a record high.
The number of unaccompanied children has increased by nearly five times since 2010 – to at least 300,0000.
The report says ninety-two percent of minors who arrived in Italy in 2016 were without an adult.
UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Justin Forsyth said: “We know from our experience of working on the ground in north Africa, in central America, in parts of Asia, in parts of Europe like Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, all of these different countries, that there are many children that aren’t counted and therefore, the number of 300,000 which is a five-fold increase is probably the tip of an iceberg.”
The timing of the release of the report is not accidental.
With the G7 meeting in Italy next week, UNICEF is calling on governments to address the problem and adopt their six-point plan.
The plan says the best protection for children is efforts to keep families together, and improving access to education and health services.