29 April 2016
In a new report, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) analyses the specificities of irregular travel to Europe undertaken by Egyptian unaccompanied minors. The report is based on a case-study of a boat carrying 132 Egyptian unaccompanied minors directed towards Italy, which was rescued off the Greek island of Crete in August 2015. IOM interviewed the minors to assess their specific vulnerabilities and understand the smuggling networks in relation to children.
The organisation noted a shift in the modus operandi of smuggling networks: in the majority of cases, payment was arranged by the minors’ parents upon safe arrival of the child or through pre-arranged work in the country of destination for the minor. Children are more vulnerable to specific risks during the journey and on arrival: they are more exposed to trafficking, malnutrition and maltreatment including sexual exploitation.
IOM provides a set of recommendations to prevent irregular movements by fostering the economic, social and cultural variables which lead the minors to leave; to improve the protection granted to unaccompanied minors; and to prosecute those involved with the smuggling networks.