Vulnerability of unaccompanied and separated child migrants
Briefing December 2016
| European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) | 2016
"The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has ident if ied a number of protection gaps in the treatment of such children, including that unaccompanied and separated children face greater risks of, inter alia, sexual exploitation and abuse, military recruitmen t, child labour (including for foster families) and detention. In many countries, unaccompanied and separated children are routinely denied entry to or detained by border or immigration officials. In other cases, they are admitted but are denied access to asylum procedures , or their asylum claims are not handled in an age and gender - sensitive manner. Some countries impede separated children who are recognised as refugees from ap plying for family reunification. Many such children are granted only temporary s tatus, which ends when they turn 18, and there are few effective return programmes. The vulnerable situation of migrant unaccompanied and separated minors worldwide , and the threats they face need to be addressed, particularly with the significant increase in their number in the current ‘refugee crisis’ . The 2016 State of the Union speech call ed for a strong and immediate protection of unaccompanied and separated minors, in line with the EU's historical values."