It is estimated that 8 million unaccompanied refugee children, are currently on the move worldwide, the majority being boys, travelling alone without their families.
The experiences of persecution, violence and war in their home countries are followed by loss and separation, being exposed to exploitation, abuse and life-threatening journeys at the mercy of traffickers. Those who make it to a European country are faced with the complex challenges of their asylum claims and cultural integration – all without the help of their parents.
Despite the resilience and survival skills of these young people, many of them suffer from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and all of them are in need of professional and community support in order to have a chance to integrate their traumatic experiences and rebuild their young lives.
According to Europol, an estimated 10,000 unaccompanied children have gone missing of the over 90,000 registered in Europe upon entry. It is thought that these children have fallen into the hands of criminal gangs, for sexual and labour exploitation as well as organ trading and many are at risk of being radicalised.